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Millions Of Americans Could Lose Federal Unemployment Benefits Unless Trump Signs Relief Bill

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Millions of Americans stand to lose their federal unemployment benefits Saturday if President Donald Trump does not sign the bipartisan coronavirus relief bill.

The bill, which Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities earlier this week, extends federal unemployment benefits established in March by the CARES Act in response to the coronavirus pandemic. If the package is not signed by Saturday at midnight, when the benefits expire, as many as 12 million Americans could face a financial crisis, according to an estimate by The Century Foundation.

Trump came out against the bill after its passage, saying that the $600 direct cash payments it authorized were insufficient and calling for $2,000 payments instead, contradicting congressional Republicans who had advocated for the smaller number. (RELATED: Congress Finally Agreed On A Massive Stimulus Package. Here’s What’s In It)

Rep. Dean Phillips holds up images of people in food bank lines, standing with members of the Problem Solvers Caucus at a Monday press conference to praise the forthcoming passage of the bipartisan emergency coronavirus relief bill. (Cheriss May/Getty Images)

Rep. Dean Phillips holds up images of people in food bank lines, standing with members of the Problem Solvers Caucus at a Monday press conference to praise the forthcoming passage of the bipartisan emergency coronavirus relief bill. (Cheriss May/Getty Images)

Trump also criticized various components of the $1.4 trillion government funding bill attached to the relief package, zeroing in on tens of millions of dollars allocated for foreign nations. Despite his criticism, many of the provisions matched his administration’s own budget proposals when the bill was being negotiated.

Government funding runs out at midnight on Monday, meaning that if Trump does not sign the bill into law the government will shut down unless Congress passes another stopgap bill.

Trump has not said whether he will ultimately veto the bill. The legislation was flown to Mar-a-Lago earlier this week, meaning that Trump could sign it without having to return to D.C.

While a few lawmakers have railed against the bill’s size, most have urged Trump to sign it to avoid the looming shutdown and financial crisis.

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