In a stunning break with fellow Republicans, President Trump has posted a tweet calling the $900 billion Covid relief bill passed by Congress a “disgrace.” Echoing the sentiment of many Americans who are suffering financially due to the pandemic, Trump said the negotiated $600 direct payments authorized for this round of stimulus relief should be increased to $2,000. He urged lawmakers to make the change before submitting the legislation to him for signing.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said in the accompanying video.
Although Trump appeared genuinely upset by the compromise payment, suggesting other areas of funding in the bill should be be reduced to provide more money for American families, he did not say he would veto the legislation if the changes were not made. This fact caused some observers to speculate that the tweet was more grandstanding than principle
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a political rival of the President, immediately responded to his tweet by calling for the, agreed with his call for $2,000 payments. “Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” she tweeted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged Trump to sign the existing legislation, but said Democrats would be willing to vote for bigger stimulus checks.
“Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need,” Schumer tweeted.
House Democrats are willing to pass a measure for $2,000 direct payments by Thursday, Christmas Eve, but it would require a unanimous vote. If one lawmaker says no, the proposed override won’t work.
Trump also said that if Congress doesn’t deliver the relief package he wants, it will be left to the next administration.