US lawmakers block Trump-requested changes to Covid-19 relief bill – world news

Republicans and Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Thursday blocked attempts to modify a $ 2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and government spending package, leaving his status in doubt after President Donald Trump called for extensive changes to legislation.

Democrats tried to raise direct payments to Americans included in the bill from $ 600 to $ 2,000 per person as part of an economic relief effort for the coronavirus, acting on one of Trump’s demands. Trump’s fellow Republicans, who oppose the higher amount, have blocked that effort.

Republicans then moved to change the amount of foreign aid included in the package, seeking to address another of Trump’s grievances. The Democrats blocked that request. The Chamber was then updated for the day.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will hold a registered vote on Monday on increasing stimulus control.

The flurry of activity on the House floor did nothing to break a stalemate that threatens desperately needed assistance for millions of Americans and raises the prospect of a partial government shutdown at a time when officials are looking to distribute two coronavirus vaccines.

Congress could keep operations underway by passing a fourth interim financing bill by midnight Monday. To do this successfully, lawmakers would need Trump’s cooperation at a time he is still consumed by his November loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who is expected to take office on January 20.

Trump was in Florida, where he was supposed to play golf on Thursday. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The provisional bill, however, would not include coronavirus aid.

Embittered by his defeat to Biden, Trump is pressuring Congress to drastically modify the package, which passed by wide bipartisan margins on Monday.

The 5,500-page bill took months to negotiate and was backed by the Trump administration.

With the status quo unchanged, it was unclear whether Trump would sign the package into law or hold out for further action.

Without his signature, unemployment benefits for those fired from the pandemic will expire as early as Saturday and the US government would be forced into a partial closure starting Tuesday.

The House is expected to return on Monday to attempt to overturn Trump’s veto on an unrelated defense policy bill that, like the coronavirus package, passed Congress with wide bipartisan margins.