President Trump on Tuesday criticized the COVID relief package lawmakers announced Sunday, demanding they increase stimulus checks to $2,000 (up from $600 specified in the bill).
“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme leftwing agenda and influence the election,” argued Trump in a blistering video posted to Twitter.
“The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace…It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID.”
The relief package is tied to a $1.4 trillion spending bill Trump must sign in order to prevent a government shutdown.
Provisions of the bill that Trump opposes include:
- $85.5 million to Cambodia
- $134 million to Burma
- $1.3 billion to Egypt and its military
- $25 million to Pakistan
- $5 million to El Salvador and other Latin American nations
- $7 million for reef fish management
- $3 million for poultry production technology
- $1 billion+ for the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, and the National Gallery of Art
Even worse, the COVID relief portion offers stimulus checks to the family members of illegal aliens – allowing them to receive over $1,000 each. American workers are offered a mere $600.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people, who need it. It wasn’t their fault. It was China’s fault,” said Trump, adding that he won’t sign the bill unless lawmakers increase stimulus checks to $2,000, provide more funding for small businesses, and remove the “wasteful and unnecessary items” from the bill.
President Trump’s demands were an unwelcome surprise for lawmakers, many of whom had already left the Capitol for Christmas break.
In response to his demands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she would try to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 using a process called “Unanimous Consent” – which can be blocked by a single lawmaker who disagrees.
“Just when you think you have seen it all, last night, the President said that he would possibly veto the bicameral agreement negotiated between Republicans and Democrats,” said Pelosi. “If the President truly wants to join us in $2,000 payments, he should call upon [House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy] to agree to our Unanimous Consent request.”
In the meantime, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has suggested that lawmakers reverse Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in a bid to convince Trump to sign to COVID relief package as-is.