[Leer en español]
U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Sunday to extend for 24 hours federal administration’s funds to prevent its closure, which could have occurred at midnight tonight due to lack of funding.
Twenty minutes before midnight, the deadline for the Administration’s closure, Trump signed into law a bill approved by both houses of Congress.
The measure allows the deadline for avoiding the Administration’s closure to be extended to midnight from Monday to Tuesday while the two parties work out the details of a stimulus package aimed at mitigating the effects of the pandemic on the economy.
This extension of federal funding is the fourth since September, when funding for fiscal year 2020 ending.
On Friday, Congress had already decided to extend funding by two days to give Democrats and Republicans more time to reach agreement on the stimulus package.
That rescue plan is included in a $1.4 billion bill aimed at funding the Administration through September 2021, so the fate of both initiatives is intrinsically linked.
The FED’s borrowing capacity
Over the weekend, both sides succeeded in removing one of the main obstacles in the negotiations: a Republican proposal to restrict the Federal Reserve’s emergency borrowing capacity, something that Democrats feared would constrain the future administration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The stimulus package will include direct payments of $600 to individuals with incomes of less than $75,000 per year, a measure similar to the previous aid package, which passed in March, and in which such payments amounted to $1,200 per person.
In addition, $300 a week will be given to each person who is unemployed, a benefit that is added to the one already granted by the states, Democratic leaders in Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, said in a statement Sunday.
The legislation will also include $284 billion in loans for small businesses and another $82 billion for schools and universities, as well as billions of dollars to help local entities distribute the COVID-19 vaccines.
Trump, who has left the negotiations to Congress, complained on Sunday that no agreement had yet been reached after months of negotiations and insisted on blaming China for the virus.
“Why isn’t Congress giving our people a Stimulus Bill? It wasn’t their fault, it was China’s fault. GET IT DONE, and give them more money in direct payments,” he said on Twitter.
Congress hasn’t passed a stimulus measure since March, when it approved a rescue plan of more than $2 trillion, the largest in U.S. history.
Since the first cases were detected in the U.S. 11 months ago, covid-19 has killed more than 317,009 people, while 17.8 million have been infected with the virus, more than any other country in the world in absolute terms, according to Johns Hopkins University.