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Officials react to President Trump signing the $900-billion COVID relief bill

December 27, 2020
In The News

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- President Donald Trump has reportedly signed the $900-billion stimulus package, government spending bill. By signing the bill, it averted a government shutdown.

With the president signing this bill, millions of Americans can keep their federal unemployment benefits. Also, the eviction moratorium extended, and now millions of Americans will be getting a $600 stimulus check.

"Well, I mean, glad that he signed it because the consequences of him not signing it were massive in a bad way," said Karl Petrick, an economics professor at Western New England University.

Petrick said the president's decision to sign the latest stimulus bill extends unemployment benefits and the moratorium on evictions, along with avoiding a government shutdown in the middle of a pandemic.

Congressman Richard Neal released a statement to Western Mass News on the president's decision to sign the bill on Sunday night, saying:

“The president’s pointless delay in approving this relief legislation cost millions of Americans a week’s worth of pandemic-related unemployment assistance that they desperately need. His stalling only intensified anxiety and hardship for workers and families who are collateral damage in his political games."

The president at first refused to sign the bill after asking for the stimulus checks to increase. Petrick told us he believes the president could still want that.

"He may well still push for the $2,000 outside of this bill," he noted. "I'm sure the Democrats in the House will be happy to push that forward, possibly tomorrow."

But the timing could be off, as a new Congress gets sworn in next Sunday.

"It probably won't come to anything in this Congress. I don't think there's time to get extra money," he added. "But if they're going to debate it now, then hopefully the incoming Congress next Sunday will take it up."