WASHINGTON – Millions of Americans lose their unemployment benefits this Saturday, in the first direct consequence of the refusal of the outgoing president of the United States (USA), Donald Trump, to sign the new stimulus plan approved by Congress.
Federal unemployment benefits for between 12 and 14 million Americans expired this Saturday, and if Trump doesn’t sign the bill before midnight, those unemployed workers will stop receiving benefits for at least a week or as long as it takes. to correct the situation.
This is the first impact in American lives of the disagreement between the White House and Congress over the new bill, but there could be two other serious consequences over the next week.
If Trump does not sign the spending bill that accompanies the new stimulus plan before Monday night, funds for the Administration will be exhausted and he will go into partial paralysis from Tuesday, unless a measure of temporary financing.
And in the event that the stimulus package does not go into effect next Thursday, that midnight on December 31, a national moratorium prohibiting evictions will expire, putting some 30 million Americans at risk of homelessness in the year. new.
Trump has refused to sign the bill passed by both houses of Congress on Monday unless several changes are passed, from an increase in direct payments to Americans to a reduction in foreign aid.
TRUMP DOES NOT MOVE FROM HIS POSTURE
The president did not give any sign this Saturday of having changed his position, in a series of tweets from his private club in Mar-a-Lago (Florida), where he is on vacation and where the bill has arrived in case he decided sign it.
“I just want to get our great people $ 2,000, instead of the paltry $ 600 (in direct transfers) now in the bill,” Trump tweeted, even though it was his own government that proposed the amount of 600 dollars included in the legislative text.
The unemployment benefits that expire this Saturday were established at the beginning of the pandemic and are structured in two programs: one to help self-employed workers and another designed to provide additional payments to those who could not receive benefits through traditional resources for the unemployed.
Legislation passed by Congress not only revamped those programs, but also provided for extra payments of $ 300 a week through March 14 for workers unemployed or laid off during the pandemic.
That amount would be in addition to the benefits that the unemployed can receive through the existing programs in their state of residence, which cover 90% of the country’s workers and which did not expire this Saturday, unlike the federal programs.
The overall unemployment rate in the US, which had risen to 14% in April, has been declining since then and stood at 6.7% in November.
Last week, applications for unemployment benefits in the United States fell to 803,000, a still very high level that reflects the impact of the covid-19 pandemic, which has already left 18.7 million cases and more than 330,000 deaths in the country.