With federal unemployment insurance programs expiring for millions of Americans and a potential government shutdown on the horizon, President Donald Trump appears to be resolute in his threat to not sign a massive $2.3 trillion spending bill that would fund the government and provide billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief to individuals and small businesses.
The president has suggested that the relief package does not include “enough money” for Americans and has called for Congress to increase the amount of a new round of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 for individuals.
He signaled he would not sign bill unless Congress revised it.
“Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending,” he continued.
He argued that Trump should sign the current bill — which would send out $600 stimulus checks — and suggested Congress can pass a separate bill that would send out $2,000 checks.
“Sign the bill Mr. President, and then immediately Monday, Tuesday we can pass a $2,000 direct payment to the working families of this country.”
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On stimulus checks, @BernieSanders claims,“What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel. Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They're going to be evicted from their apartments. There's money in that bill.” pic.twitter.com/LpFJXlEUlE— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 27, 2020
Congress passed the massive spending package on December 21 after days of negotiations. But Trump balked at the amount of money allocated for foreign aid in the government spending bill compared to the $892 billion relief bill.
He listed examples of provisions for foreign aid in the government funding bill and claimed it was “wasteful spending.” At the same time, he argued there is “not enough money” in the COVID relief package for small businesses and individuals.
“I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said as he warned the “next administration” would have to pass a relief package unless Congress sent him a “suitable bill.”
The relief bill would have sent out $600 direct payments to individuals, and it provided $300 per week in unemployment insurance on top of the states’ benefits. It also allocated money for contact tracing, coronavirus testing, vaccine distribution, and small businesses.
After Trump’s demand, House Democrats attempted to pass a stand-alone bill that would have sent Americans $2,000 checks, but that motion was blocked by Republican lawmakers.