Lawmakers seek to override Trump’s defense veto

The vote deeply divided Republicans who mostly resist more spending.

Americans are living through a bitter holiday season with a pandemic that has killed 333,000 people in the United States, with a daily death toll now repeatedly well over 3,000, the highest since the pandemic began.

The showdown could end up as more symbol than substance.

"The compromise bill is not flawless, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is pictured on Capitol Hill on November 20.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday night that he thought the votes would be there and even Republican aides are saying they believe there is a very good chance Trump's veto will be overridden Monday night in the House. A two-thirds majority vote in both legislative bodies is required to override a presidential veto.

If successful, that would be the first veto override of Trump's presidency. The bipartisan bill negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had already passed the House and Senate by wide margins.

Trump last week threatened to block a massive pandemic aid and spending package if Congress did not boost stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000 and cut other spending. "Nothing in this bill helps anybody get back to work", he said.

Gig workers and extra state unemployment benefits: Unfortunately, Trump's delay in signing the relief package means that those expecting funds from two unemployment programs-one for gig workers and one allocating extra state unemployment benefits-will miss out on that extra money entirely for the week that has expired since Congress passed the bill.

Without Trump's signature or passage of a temporary measure, a partial government shutdown would have begun Tuesday.

Unemployment benefits being paid out to about 14 million people through pandemic programmes lapsed last Saturday but will be restarted now that Mr Trump has signed the Bill. It also extends eviction protections, adding a new rental assistance fund.

The COVID package draws on and expands an earlier effort from Washington, the largest of its kind. The $740 billion measure would support the country's defense programs.

Meanwhile, the government funding portion of the bill keeps federal agencies nationwide running without dramatic changes until September 30.

The attempt to send much higher pandemic-era cheques to people is perhaps the last standoff of the president's final days in office as he imposes fresh demands and disputes the results of the November 3 presidential election. The new Congress is set to be sworn in Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump plays golf at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Monday. However, the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to oppose the measure.

Trump has criticized the defense bill on several fronts, arguing without explanation that the bill benefits China.

"But to continue down this road is ruinous", the Post said.

Why wasn't the bill quickly signed into law?

The president's call was embraced by Democrats, who have advocated for higher direct payments, but was frowned upon by some Republicans, who aimed to hold down the plan's overall cost.

"It's money we don't have, we have to borrow to get and we can't afford to pay back", he said on "Fox and Friends".

With less than a month left in office, Trump is angry that some Republicans have acknowledged his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 election.

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