COVID-19

Trump criticizes COVID relief bill, demands changes

David Brancaccio and Nancy Marshall-Genzer Dec 23, 2020
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Trump assailed the bipartisan $900 billion package in a video he tweeted Tuesday night. Al Drago/Getty Images
COVID-19

Trump criticizes COVID relief bill, demands changes

David Brancaccio and Nancy Marshall-Genzer Dec 23, 2020
Heard on:
Trump assailed the bipartisan $900 billion package in a video he tweeted Tuesday night. Al Drago/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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President Donald Trump released a video Tuesday evening saying the $900 billion COVID relief bill passed by Congress is a “disgrace,” needs to be reconfigured and that $600 per person in direct payments is not enough.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer has more on this from Washington. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

David Brancaccio: Nancy, will this delay the relief checks?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Possibly. Now, Trump did not specifically threaten to veto the COVID relief bill. If he were to sign it after all, the checks could go out very soon. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this week that the money would land in Americans’ bank accounts as soon as next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted Tuesday night that Democrats could vote this week on a bill that would increase the relief payments to $2,000. That vote could come Thursday. But then the Senate would have to approve it unanimously, which is unlikely.

Brancaccio:And what happens if Trump vetoes the bill?

Marshall-Genzer: Both the House and Senate approved the COVID relief package by veto-proof majorities — Congress can override a president’s veto with a two-thirds majority in each chamber. But those votes would have to be scheduled, and many members of Congress have already gone home for the holidays.

Brancaccio: So, realistically, if the president doesn’t sign this bill right away, people won’t see those checks for a while?

Marshall-Genzer: Right. And even if President Trump does nothing — if he doesn’t veto it, but also doesn’t sign it — it still takes 10 days for the bill to become law without his signature.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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