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Jobless Benefits Run Out as Trump Resists Signing Relief Bill


Hicham Oumlil, a self-employed fashion designer in Brooklyn, said that he and his wife, a furloughed interior designer, are both set to lose nearly $600 a week, leaving the couple and their 7-year-old son without a source of income. Having paid less than half of his rent each month for the past three months, Mr. Oumlil, 48, said he feared falling deeper into debt if the relief bill did not become law.

“Our livelihoods have been shattered,” he said. “The government is showing no leadership. I am floored by what is currently happening in Congress.”

After House Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to unilaterally increase the $600 direct payments to $2,000 per adult, top Democrats plan to hold a roll-call vote on the measure on Monday when the full House is present. Lawmakers could also potentially approve a stopgap funding bill to keep the government running.

“As the economy continues to falter, folks are hanging on by a thread and desperately need this federal relief to continue so they can afford basics like food, medicine, diapers, phone bills and housing,” said Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “It is underhanded and cruel for the president now to refuse to sign it into law and potentially end this brutal year by inflicting even more pain and suffering on families in need.”

The president’s implicit threat to reject the spending package roiled Republicans on Capitol Hill, who said Mr. Trump’s rebuke of the legislation had taken them by surprise after they overwhelmingly supported the bill. (In fact, many of Mr. Trump’s complaints were about measures in the government funding bills that were in line with White House budget requests.)

The direct payments were kept at half of the original $1,200 amount approved in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law in March, partly to accommodate a Republican reluctance to spend more than $1 trillion, and there is little indication a majority of Republicans would support such an increase.

“I hope the president looks at this again and reaches that conclusion that the best thing to do is to sign the bill,” Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, told reporters this week. “I think that would be to the president’s advantage if we were talking about his accomplishments rather than questioning decisions late in the administration, but, again, Congress has very little control over what the president can say.”

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