Trump relents as inexplicably as he resisted; COVID-19 help is back on, but not without problems

The House, however, is going to vote Monday to increase the direct payments from $600 to $2,000. “Now, the president must immediately call on congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000, which will be brought to the floor tomorrow,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Sunday night.

The House will also have to figure out how to make certain that Trump’s delay in signing the bill doesn’t cost the unemployed even more. Unemployment extensions for coronavirus and to gig workers expired Saturday, kicking millions out of the system. States will have to kickstart their systems again. Workers in some states might be forced to reapply for UI, and workers in most states are likely going to lose a week of benefits as well as a week of the $300 supplemental federal payment because of the delay. Congress can restore that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to cause immediate pain, even though there will at least be the $600 direct payments.

“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. “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.” Stress that will continue for the unemployed. “They might get it at the back end, but there are bills tomorrow,” Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project, told The New York Times. “It’s just so frustrating that he couldn’t have figured this out yesterday. One day of delay is catastrophe for millions.”

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