US President Donald Trump has signed into law a $US2.3 trillion ($3.02 trillion) pandemic aid and spending package, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and averting a partial federal government shutdown.
- The package includes $US900 billion in pandemic relief and $US1.4 trillion to fund Government agencies through to September
- It had already been passed by both the House and Senate and was believed to have had the President’s approval
- Mr Trump last week upended months of negotiations when he demanded that the package be revised
Mr Trump announced the signing in a statement.
The package includes $US900 billion in pandemic relief that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals.
It also averts a government shutdown.
It also includes $US1.4 trillion to fund Government agencies through to September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as money for cash-starved transit systems and an increase in food stamp benefits.
Democrats have promised more aid will come once president-elect Joe Biden takes office, but Republicans are signalling a wait-and-see approach.
Both sides of politics blindsided by Trump
The fate of the end-of-year COVID-19 relief and spending bill had been in doubt earlier as millions lost unemployment aid, the government barrelled toward a mid-pandemic shutdown and politicians implored Mr Trump to act.
Mr Trump blindsided members of both parties and upended months of negotiations when he demanded last week that the package — already passed the House and Senate by large margins and believed to have the President’s support — be revised to include larger relief checks and scaled-back spending.
If he continued his opposition, the federal government would have run out of money at 12:01am on Tuesday (local time).
Prior to signing the bill, Mr Trump tweeted there would be news on the future of the relief package.
Mr Trump had been urged by Democratic and Republican politicians to sign the legislation, then have Congress follow up with additional aid.
More to come.