Trump Slams $900B Coronavirus Relief Package, Calls For Stimulus Checks To Be Raised To $2,000
President Donald Trump called Congress’ bipartisan $900 billion coronavirus relief bill a “disgrace” on Tuesday evening.
The bill would provide direct payment checks of up to $600 per adult and child, expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, add $25 billion in rental assistance and extend unemployment insurance benefits. The plan also includes funding for foreign aid and institutions such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian, which Trump criticized as “wasteful and unnecessary.”
“It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” Trump said. “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people.”
He also attacked the $600 payment to Americans, calling on Congress to raise it to $2,000.
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“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000,” he said.
The larger payment amount had previously received pushback from Republican legislators, but several Democrats indicated their support for that one component of Trump’s proposal.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) tweeted, “Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks.”
“At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent,” she wrote on Twitter. “Let’s do it!”
Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it! https://t.co/Th4sztrpLV
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
Similarly, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) said House Democrats could “accommodate his desires” to raise the checks to $2,000, as Democrats “have been pushing for a much larger package for months.”
“If his major concern is he wants $2,000 relief checks, I’m sure we can accommodate his desires,” Raskin said. “On the Democratic side, we have been pushing for a much larger package for months.”
The bill could be amended to include $2,000 payments and brought to a vote by unanimous consent on Thursday.
However, some are concerned by the prospect of further drawn-out relief negotiations.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) proposed Tuesday night that Congress separate the $2,000 checks from the multibillion relief package and vote on them individually.
We need to send a clean bill with just $2,000 survival checks and a separate spending/covid relief bill.
Negotiating everything into one bill is how we got here, since Trump wants to sign a bill with survival checks, let’s send one to his desk right away.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 23, 2020
“We need to send a clean bill with just $2,000 survival checks and a separate spending/covid relief bill,” she wrote on Twitter. “Negotiating everything into one bill is how we got here, since Trump wants to sign a bill with survival checks, let’s send one to his desk right away.”
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