Millions of Americans face unemployment benefits lapse

Millions of Americans face unemployment benefits lapse
Some 14 million Americans are at risk of a lapse in payments. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Millions in the US face going without unemployment benefits after Saturday amid a political standoff over a $900bn coronavirus stimulus package.

President Donald Trump has refused to sign the bill into law unless it is amended, though Democrats and Republicans have blocked proposals.

The Covid economic relief package, which comes with a $1.4tn federal budget attached, was agreed by both parties.

But President Trump wants bigger one-off payments and a cut in foreign aid.

As well as threatening unemployment benefits, a moratorium on evictions may not be extended unless the bill is enacted by the end of 26 December.

Lawmakers could pass a stopgap bill by Monday to prevent a partial government shutdown looming a day later, but this would not include Covid aid and Mr Trump would still have to sign it.

Some 14 million Americans would be affected by a lapse in new stimulus cheques and unemployment benefit payments.

President Trump says the one-time payments to Americans should increase from the $600 in the legislation to $2,000 – but his fellow party leaders have refused to agree to the change.

Democrats also blocked Republican attempts to cut foreign aid from the federal spending bill.

In a letter to colleagues, Kevin McCarthy, House Republican leader, said: “House Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing.”

While the haggling continues on Capitol Hill, Mr Trump is spending Christmas at his resort in Palm Beach, Florida. A memo released from the White House said he was working “tirelessly” with “many meetings and calls”, though he was spotted at his golf course on Thursday morning.

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