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Hogan: Trump should sign COVID-19 relief bill

Hogan: Trump should sign COVID-19 relief bill
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) urged President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE on Sunday to sign the COVID-19 relief package currently awaiting his signature after it passed both chambers of Congress last week.

Speaking with CNN's "State of the Union," Hogan, the head of the National Governors Association (NGA), dismissed the president's call to raise direct payments to individuals in the bill from $600 to $2,000, a call which saw some support from Democrats in Congress but has been rejected by House and Senate GOP leadership.

"If the president thought that was the case, he should have weighed in eight months ago...or at least eight days ago, and not after they finally reached agreement," Hogan said of Trump's assertion that the payments were insufficient to help struggling Americans.

"We'd like to see more help get out to the struggling small businesses, the people who are unemployed, and need this money desperately," Hogan continued, adding that he and the NGA had pushed for a larger package that included aid to state and local governments for months.

"But this took a long time, eight months of divisiveness in Congress," Hogan said. "We need to get it done...Sign the bill, get it done, and then if the president wants to push for more, let's get that done too."

Hogan's comments are some of the strongest from a fellow Republican in response to the president's refusal so far to sign the COVID-19 relief bill, which has paralyzed Washington and put his allies in Congress in a tough spot as Trump's demand for increased direct payments appears to be more in line with calls from congressional Democrats than members of his own party.

Whether the president will sign the coronavirus relief and government funding package totaling $2.3 trillion into law remains unclear. President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE urged him to do so in a statement released Saturday calling for Trump to stop holding up necessary aid to families during the holiday season.

“This bill is critical," Biden said. "It needs to be signed into law now. But it is also a first step and down payment on more action that we’ll need to take early in the new year to revive the economy and contain the pandemic — including meeting the dire need for funding to distribute and administer the vaccine and to increase our testing capacity."

The Maryland governor has been a frequent critic of the Trump administration's COVID-19 response for months, and recently joined the bipartisan No Labels group as co-chairman.