President Donald Trump has signed the $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding bill into law this past Sunday night. The $900 billion coronavirus relief package will extend unemployment benefits to millions of jobless gig-workers, independent contractors, and long-term unemployed individuals.
12 million Americans have been receiving benefits from two key pandemic unemployment programs. This past weekend would’ve marked their last weekend of payments had this bill not been signed; they will now receive another 11 weeks. All individuals collecting unemployment payments will also be receiving an additional $300 weekly through the middle of March.
Since Trump didn’t sign the bill on Saturday, however, those who are in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of 2020, and the $300 additional payments may only last 10 weeks due to the fact that the states can’t provide benefits for weeks before a program is fully authorized.
The Covid-19 relief package was initially passed by Congress on Monday and then was flown to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday so Trump could then sign it. After endless hours of negotiations, the current president finally signed the bill, which will provide $600 stimulus payments to all adult Americans, and $1,200 to all couples; exactly half of what was given out during the initial round of stimulus payments.
Trump himself has been spending the past month trying to get the 2020 election investigated on dozens of baseless claims of voter fraud, in fact, this past weekend when he signed the bill Trump claimed that the Senate would be “considering legislation that repeals Section 230, and thus start an investigation into voter fraud.” It’s currently unclear what that legislation would actually look like, and it’s important to note that there has been 0% evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
The two programs previously mentioned that are being extended allows the self-employed, freelance, and gig workers to qualify for up to 39 weeks of payments, and will now be opened up to those who can’t work in general due to the pandemic.
The new deal extends the programs for up to 11 weeks and each will close to new applicants on March 14th but will continue through April 5th for individuals who have existing claims and have not reached their maximum number of weeks by that point. Eviction protection is also extended until January 31st and will provide $25 billion in rental assistance to those who are unable to work for pandemic-related reasons.
It’s estimated that 9.2 million renters in America have lost their employment during the pandemic, and are struggling to pay their rent. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implemented an order in the beginning of the pandemic that halted some evictions and rental payments through 2020, however, the program didn’t cancel out the payments, so without this new package many Americans were gearing up to receive a massive bill on January 1st for all the rent they would owe from the past nine months.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.