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The relief bill showdown is over. What comes next?

The showdown is over. In a surprise move late Sunday night, President Trump signed the covid relief and government funding bill, demanding last-minute changes. Amna Nawaz speaks with Anna Palmer, Senior Washington Correspondent for Politico, about what was behind President Trump’s decision to finally sign – and what comes next.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    The showdown is over.

    In a surprise move late Sunday night, President Trump signed the COVID relief and government funding bill, after days of delay, and demanding last-minute changes.

    William Brangham begins our coverage.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    The House will be in order.

  • William Brangham:

    Lawmakers returned to Washington today, after a high-stakes stand-off with President Trump over coronavirus relief and government funding.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It really is a disgrace.

  • William Brangham:

    For days, the president refused to sign the $2.3 trillion bill to provide $900 billion in coronavirus relief and to fund the federal government through the rest of fiscal year 2021.

    But then, last night, he suddenly reversed course. In a statement, the president said he had signed the bill, but was demanding many rescissions to claw back what he said was wasteful spending.

    That's even though his own administration had helped negotiate the legislation. Still, his demands for cutbacks are unlikely to go anywhere.

    Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said she and other Democrats will reject any rescissions submitted by President Trump.

    The president's statement also called for Congress to increase the bill's $600 checks for Americans earning up to $75,000 a year to $2,000.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi:

    Republicans have a choice: Vote for this legislation or vote to deny the American people the bigger paychecks they need.

  • William Brangham:

    That gave Democrats in the House of Representatives the opportunity to vote today on an attempt to push through those $2,000 checks, forcing Republicans to either approve the spending or break with the president.

  • Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas:

    I worry that this whopping $463 billion won't do what's needed.

  • William Brangham:

    But that measure is unlikely to pass the Senate, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans opposed to such relief spending.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    Senate Democrats are fighting for $2,000 per person.

  • William Brangham:

    Today in New York, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for President Trump to lean on Senate Republicans to get those bigger checks passed.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    Today, I am telling Donald Trump, don't just talk about it. Act. These Senate Republicans have followed you through thick and thin. Get them now to act and support the $2,000 checks.

  • William Brangham:

    President-elect Joe Biden today said he also supports the $2,000 checks.

    President Trump's decision to sign the bill did avert the government shutdown that was set to begin tonight, but his delay of several days likely cost millions of Americans a week of the additional $300 in federal unemployment assistance and delayed the $600 direct payments.

  • Chanda McCoy:

    I'm kind of relieved right now that he signed the bill, but still kind of worried a little bit, because what's going to happen in the near future with us?

  • William Brangham:

    Chanda McCoy was laid off from her job at the Dayton Airport in Ohio at the beginning of the pandemic. She says the bill's unemployment benefits can only stretch so far.

  • Chanda McCoy:

    I pay rent, utilities. I have to pay car insurance, a car payment. I have grandkids. And these are young parents that still need some help. I can't help my grandkids as much.

  • Angela Retamoza:

    I lost my job in 2008 when the economy crashed. And I did end up being homeless for a while.

  • William Brangham:

    Angela Retamoza was laid off from her job as an accounting assistant in March. She says she tried to save what little she could from the last round of COVID relief, knowing it could expire at the end of the year.

  • Angela Retamoza:

    I'm at least able to know that I have enough money to pay rent next month. But, after that, I just — I don't know.

  • William Brangham:

    That uncertainty is a reality for millions of Americans, still waiting for relief amid this pandemic.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham.

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