Political News

Trump-Biden transition live updates: COVID-19 relief bill awaits Trump's signature or veto

iStock_WhiteHouse_042820-7
TriggerPhoto/iStock

By CATHERINE THORBECKE and KATE PASTOR, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern.

Dec 26, 1:11 pm
Biden releases statement on COVID-19 relief bill

Biden released a statement on Saturday afternoon amping up the pressure on Trump to sign the COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress.

Biden said the “abdication of responsibility” by Trump has “devastating consequences” for Americans while reiterating that while the bill is “critical,” it is also just a first step toward getting struggling families and businesses the help they need.

“It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don’t know if they’ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,” the statement reads.

“This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits. In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk. In less than a week, a moratorium on evictions expires, putting millions at risk of being forced from their homes over the holidays,” it continues. “Delay means more small businesses won’t survive this dark winter because they lack access to the lifeline they need, and Americans face further delays in getting the direct payments they deserve as quickly as possible to help deal with the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. And while there is hope with the vaccines, we need funding to be able to distribute and administer them to millions of Americans, including frontline health care workers.”

The bill “needs to be signed into law now,” the statement says. “But it is also a first step and down payment on more action that we’ll need to take early in the new year to revive the economy and contain the pandemic.”

-ABC News’ John Verhovek

Dec 26, 11:09 am
Trump on Twitter tear as COVID-19 relief bill remains unsigned

On Saturday, the day expanded unemployment benefits are set to lapse after Trump refused to sign the bipartisan COVID-19 relief and spending bill overwhelmingly approved by Congress this week, the president tweeted again about one of his main sticking points — the amount of money the bill allocates to send directly to Americans.

“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork,'” he tweeted.

It is unclear if the president, who received the bill at Mar-a-Lago Christmas eve, has any intention of signing the bill or vetoing it. If he vetoes it, Congress could override his veto. But he could also do nothing and wait for the current Congress to end, forcing the new Congress to start from scratch on another bill.

If Trump doesn’t sign the bill, it could also lead to a government shutdown.

Trump also tweeted Saturday morning his grievances about the results of the presidential election and what he views as a lack of support in overturning the results.

“Mitch & the Republicans do NOTHING, just want to let it pass. NO FIGHT!” he wrote in one tweet.

In another, he dug into the DOJ and the FBI, tweeting: “The ‘Justice’ Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud,” again citing baseless claims about the presidential election.

He repeated those baseless claims in yet another tweet directed at the Supreme Court.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has been totally incompetent and weak on the massive Election Fraud that took place in the 2020 Presidential Election,” he wrote, continuing to make debunked claims.

-ABC News’ Mariam Khan, Allison Pecorin and Ben Gittleson

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.