US President Donald Trump said Sunday night that he had signed the $ 900 billion (N349.2 trillion) coronavirus aid package.
The action came just hours before the government shutdown and days after the president opposed the bill for “unnecessary and wasteful articles.”
In a statement, Trump called on Congress to make further amendments to reduce overspending and eliminate “waste items.”
“I will sign the Omnibus and COVID package with a strong message that makes it clear to Congress that unnecessary items must be removed.
“I will send back to Congress a version with red lines, article by article, accompanied by the formal request for rescission to Congress, insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” he said.
The package, approved by Congress on December 21 after months of negotiations, is part of a federal government budget of $ 2.3 trillion.
A key element in the bill is the $ 600 stimulus check for American workers earning less than $ 75,000 per year.
In a video message Wednesday, Trump said the bill was called a coronavirus relief package, but that there was “almost nothing about COVID-19 in it.”
“The bill also allows stimulus checks for family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $ 1,800 each.
“This is much more than what is given to Americans.
“Despite all these wastes, and much more, the $ 900 billion packages provide hard-working taxpayers only $ 600 each in relief package.
“Not enough money is given to small businesses and, in particular, to restaurants whose owners have suffered so much,” said the president.
He urged Congress to amend the bill and increase the “ridiculously low” $ 600 to $ 2,000 or $ 4,000 for couples.
Reports say leaders of the opposition Democratic Party in Congress supported the president’s $ 2,000 stimulus check proposal, but the Republican Party leadership rejected it.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised President Trump for signing the bill and avoiding a shutdown, which the nation could not afford.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also reacted to the signing in a statement, describing the $ 600 package as a “down payment on what is needed to squash the virus.”
Pelosi said House Democrats would hold a meeting on the proposed $ 2,000 stimulus check on Monday.