After refusing to sign the government funding $2.3 trillion bill Donald Trump has snatched the extension of unemployment benefits from millions of jobless Americans.
Trump refused to sign an end-of-year spending bill that congressional leaders spent months negotiating to give most Americans $2,000 COVID relief checks, far more than the $600 his own party agreed to.
The standoff comes as millions of Americans face financial hardship including difficulty affording food and shelter triggered by the pandemic.
An estimated 12 million Americans were to receive unemployment benefits. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program allows independent contractors, the self-employed, freelancers and gig workers to qualify for payments.
It also opens up the program to those who can’t work because of the pandemic, including if they or family members are ill or quarantining or if their children’s schools are closed..
Mr Trump was spending the Christmas holiday weekend at his Palm Beach golf club in Florida.
Pictures showed Mr. Trump playing golf while his White House aides said: “As the Holiday season approaches, President Trump will continue to work tirelessly for the American People. His schedule includes many meetings and calls.”
While, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to salvage the legislation to prevent a shutdown at least until Biden is inaugurated January 20.
A partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday unless Congress can agree a stop-gap government funding bill before then.