Trump calls for Congress to amend COVID relief bill
Tamar Lapin and Joe Tacopino
“It really is a disgrace,” Trump said in a video posted to Twitter. “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID.”
Trump went on to list the millions of dollars included in the 5,593-page package, including cash for two National Mall museums, $10 million for “gender programs” in Pakistan and $2.5 million for “internet freedom.”
Trump said the American people got the “bare minimum” from the bill even though “it was China’s fault.”
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” he said.
The president added that the next administration may have to deal with the package, but added that “maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done.”
Most of the president’s spending complaints were from the $1.4 trillion bill to fund government agencies through September and other bills packaged together with the $900 billion pandemic stimulus passed on Monday.
The relief package was brokered by party leaders and the White House after months of deadlock and many details are seemingly unrelated to the pandemic.
It sped through the House and Senate in hours on Monday, with some lawmakers expressing concern about passing such a large bill without much time to review it.
The Senate cleared the package by a 92-6 vote after the House approved it by a 359-53 vote.
Trump did not threaten to veto the package in Tuesday’s video. However, should he choose to take that step, those vote totals would be enough to override a veto.
Shortly after Trump released the 4-minute clip, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the president’s request for larger checks for Americans, saying “Let’s do it!”
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks,” the Democratic leader tweeted. “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!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020