President Trump on Sunday abruptly signed a measure providing $900 billion in pandemic aid and funding the government through September, ending last-minute turmoil he himself had created over legislation that will offer an economic lifeline to millions of Americans and avert a government shutdown.
The legislative package will provide billions of dollars for the distribution of vaccines, funds for schools, small businesses, hospitals and American families, and money needed to keep the government open for the remainder of the fiscal year. The enactment came less than 48 hours before the government would have shut down and just days before an eviction moratorium and other critical pandemic relief provisions were set to expire.
But it also came after two critical unemployment programs lapsed, guaranteeing a delay in benefits for millions of unemployed Americans.
The crisis was one of Mr. Trump’s own making, after he blindsided lawmakers and White House officials with a videotaped implicit threat on Tuesday to veto the package, which his top deputies had helped negotiate and which had cleared both chambers of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support nearly a week ago. The 5,593-page legislation was flown to Florida, where the president is spending the winter holidays, on Thursday and had been waiting for Mr. Trump’s signature since.
The lapse will result in real hardship for real people, who are in most cases suffering through no fault of their own — and there appears to have been absolutely no reason to wait until just after the lapse in benefits to sign. Just the typical erratic behavior from this lout.
It’s the exact same bill he had just finished refusing to sign, calling it a “disgrace.” His opposition has been comically stupid, with the stupidity reaching its grandest heights when Trump made a long speech decrying foreign aid allotments that were in every case almost to the penny what he himself had requested in his own budget proposal. Now Trump has indicated he will send a redlined version of the bill back to Congress with a list of specific items to which he objects and wants deleted. I’m sure they’ll get right on that.
Counting the days until he is gone.