Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Trump Delays Signing Relief Bill One Additional Day, So Millions Of Americans Will Lose Unemployment Benefits

Donald Trump could have signed the COVID Relief bill on Thursday, December 24. He refused for three days before "unexpectedly" signing it on Sunday, December 27.

However, his signature came "after two critical unemployment programs lapsed, guaranteeing a delay in benefits for millions of unemployed Americans". The New York Times explained more fully, though not until its story's 13th paragraph
While the legislation provides for expanded and extended unemployment benefits, Mr. Trump's delay in signing allowed two critical programs to lapse this weekend and guarantees a delay in benefits for millions of Americans who had relied on the income. The legislation provides for a weekly $300 federal benefit — about half the original benefit established in the March stimulus law — for 11 weeks, and extends the two programs.

With state unemployment agencies waiting for federal guidance on how to put the new legislation in place, it is unclear how quickly those programs could resume and whether the benefits would be retroactive to accommodate the delay. Because unemployment benefits are processed weekly and the legislation was not signed before the beginning of the week, it is likely that workers in most states will lose a week of benefits under the expanded program, as well as a week with the $300 supplemental benefit.

"They might get it at the back end, but there are bills tomorrow," said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit workers' rights group. "It's just so frustrating that he couldn't have figured this out yesterday. One day of delay is catastrophe for millions."

A Democratic aide on Sunday said most states would need guidance from the Labor Department to see if they could pay benefits for the week of Dec. 27.

The delay also jeopardized the time frame for distributing the $600 direct payments to most American adults, which Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, had initially promised could be distributed as early as this week.

"For families wondering how they will pay January rent or buy groceries, a weekslong delay could have serious consequences," Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Sunday evening. "While it's a huge relief that the bill is being signed, Donald Trump's tantrum has created unnecessary hardship and stress for millions of families."
Knowing Trump's sole concern is his personal well-being and having watched his obvious glee this year as other people have suffered terribly, it is impossible to see his delay as anything but intentional. People keep saying it, but it has not sunk in to the extent it should. The cruelty is the point. 

Also, Trump wanted to punish Republicans for their supposed "disloyalty", not agreeing to unconditionally support his efforts to overthrow November's election. Trump will likely then brag about the reduced unemployment numbers and the ensuing stock market bump.

The Washington Post reported (beginning in the 12th paragraph) that Trump's
delay in signing a law still raised the prospect that it could be a little longer before some of the money actually reached those that need it most.

The new stimulus offers critical help to roughly 14 million Americans, for example, who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. But it may take weeks for state agencies to implement the new policy — and boost other jobless workers' pay — leaving some workers facing the real prospect that they will not receive their checks for an extended period. Colorado, for example, warned its residents Monday that it cannot even begin to reprogram its computers until the federal government shares key policy guidance. . . .

Trump's refusal to sign the stimulus law before Sunday has raised the possibility that millions of Americans essentially may lose a week of pay for the period starting on December 27, since the $900 billion stimulus could not take effect in time.

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