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  • by Pacific Island Times News Staff

New Covid relief measure signed; Leon Guerrero vows to roll out programs as soon as funds roll in

President Trump on Sunday night signed a massive coronavirus relief and spending package, after days of opposition and threats of a federal shutdown.

The legislation, which combines $900 billion in Covid-19 aid with government funding through September 2021, was passed by large majorities in both houses of Congress on Dec. 21.

"As president of the United States it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China virus," Trump said in a statement.

"I understand that many small businesses have been forced to close as a result of harsh actions by Democrat-run states. Many people are back to work, but my job is not done until everyone is back to work," Trump said. "Fortunately, as a result of my work with Congress in passing the CARES Act earlier this year, we avoided another Great Depression."

Trump earlier told Congress that he wanted more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child. After the bill's passage, Trump initially called for the measure to be revised to include $2,000 checks and refused to sign it until his call was answered. However, he didn't officially say he would veto it.

On Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has issued the following statement:

“While no bill is perfect, this package will extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans throughout the nation and right here at home. It will also provide direct stimulus checks to taxpayers, and provide relief to small businesses and renters alike. As President Biden has said, this Act is a meaningful down payment on the larger aid package that must come once he takes office.

"Our job now is to ensure that each of these programs is rolled out as quickly as our federal partners will allow. To that end, I’ve instructed the appropriate local agencies to contact their federal counterparts and prepare for the new round of processes and bureaucracy that comes with any act of congress. So much will depend on the policy guidance given to the states and territories, and our job is to make sure that benefits are issued as quickly as the federal process allows and we will."

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