After days of uncertainty over whether he would issue a veto, President Donald Trump on Sunday evening signed a year-end spending bill with $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, including a third round of coronavirus relief payments.
In addition to the coronavirus aid, the 5,593-page bill funds the federal government for fiscal 2021 and includes extensions of tax incentives for biofuels and renewable biofuels, new benefits for rural health providers, and a two-year water resources authorization bill that could accelerate reconstruction of waterway projects.
The House and Senate easily passed the bill last Monday night, but Trump later issued a series of tweets putting the future of the legislation in doubt. Trump has said that he wanted “less wasteful spending” and “$2,000 per adult and $600 per child” in stimulus payments. The bill provides payments of $600 per person.
In a statement Sunday evening, Trump said that he would sign the bill but demanded rescissions of what he considered wasteful spending. His demand may wind up being symbolic. Trump leaves office Jan. 20, and under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, unless Congress acts on his demands within 45 legislative days, agencies must go ahead and spend the money.
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“As President I am demanding many rescissions under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. The Act provides that, “whenever the President determines that all or part of any budget authority will not be required to carry out the full objectives or scope of programs for which it is provided, or that such budget authority should be rescinded for fiscal policy or other reasons (including termination of authorized projects or activities for which budget authority has been provided), the President shall transmit to both Houses of Congress a special message” describing the amount to be reserved, the relevant accounts, the reasons for the rescission, and the economic effects of the rescission. ...
“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill."
The new round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments to farmers is mandated as part of $13 billion in new agriculture spending included in the COVID-19 aid. The bill also provides new assistance for contract livestock growers, hog producers who had to depopulate herds, cotton processors, biofuel producers and the dairy industry.
Trump's signature on the bill Sunday also averted a government shutdown this week. Congress had funded the government only through Monday in order to give Trump time to sign the legislation.
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