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Nevada political leaders share relief, decry delays after Trump signs COVID bill

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Members of Nevada's Congressional delegation, including Rep. Susie Lee (D), decried the delay after President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill on Sunday. (File photo: KSNV)

Several of Nevada's political leaders expressed relief that President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan COVID-19 aid bill on Sunday, but they decried the delays that came with providing much-needed financial help for millions of Americans.

The White House announced Trump had signed the $900 million package, apparently backing down after he said last week he wouldn't approve it without $2,000 in direct payments, rather than the $600 that had been negotiated. Republicans in Congress have opposed increasing the amount of any direct payments in the new round of relief, and no changes to the bill were approved following the president's demand.

Unemployment benefits from the CARES Act, the previous coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress in the spring, expired after Saturday. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, or DETR, said last week that without a new bill being passed, nearly 200,000 people living in the state could lose their benefits.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said that while the aid package will provide some help for those in need, he was "disappointed in the amount of time it took" for Congress to reach a compromise and for Trump to sign the bill.

"I know many Nevadans will find some relief in the direct payments in the aid package as well as extended unemployment insurance benefits, and rental and food assistance programs that are critically needed at this time," Sisolak said in a statement. "But we know that this aid package is simply not enough to meet the needs of Nevadans or countless other Americans suffering throughout the country."

Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nevada, said in a statement she was glad the president approved the bill but called it "irresponsible to cut it this close, this often."

"While we avoided an absolute disaster, needless delays to pass and sign the pandemic relief package will cause thousands of Nevadans to temporarily lose their emergency benefits," Lee said. "That’s not okay, and it’s a sign of broken leadership. I’m hopeful 2021 will bring some much-needed stability and accountability to our lawmaking. Nevadans deserve nothing less."

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, said she was "relieved" that Trump had signed the bill, but that millions had been hurt by the delay.

"This is a step in the right direction, but Nevadans need more relief, and I'll keep fighting to ensure they receive it," Rosen tweeted Sunday night.

Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nevada, echoed Rosen's sentiment.

"It shouldn't have taken Trump so long to sign it or Congress so long to agree on it," he tweeted. "Let's do better in 2021. Let’s crush this virus, rebuild our economy, and restore faith in our democracy."

Reps. Lee and Dina Titus, D-Nevada, still called for passing a measure that would provide $2,000 in direct payments.

"People who are struggling to make ends meet don’t need political theater," Titus tweeted. "They need the relief we passed last week into their hands as soon as possible."

Democrats are promising more aid to come once President-elect Joe Biden takes office, but Republicans are signaling a wait-and-see approach.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.