Trump again calls for $2,000 checks as Covid aid bill remains in flux
President Donald Trump on Friday further urged increasing the amount of direct payments the massive Covid stimulus package was supposed to provide for Americans, but gave no indication of whether he would sign or veto the existing bill.
"We made a lot of calls and met at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida. Why wouldn't politicians want to give people $ 2,000 but only $ 600? It wasn't their fault, it was China. Give this to our people Money!" Trump tweeted.
The Covid relief laws were sent overnight from Washigton and arrived at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the president is spending the vacation.
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Legislators were still waiting on Friday to see how Trump would deal with year-end spending and the $ 900 billion Covid-19 aid package that passed both chambers of Congress earlier this week. That bill included a new round of $ 600 in direct payments and aid to unemployed Americans, families and businesses affected by the pandemic.
Trump has condemned the bill, stating that it contains too many provisions unrelated to the pandemic and that it is too stingy on payments to the average American.
Following Trump's initial comments on Tuesday about a desire to increase the payment amount per person to $ 2,000, House Democrats rushed Thursday to schedule a vote to increase payments as the president requested. But Republicans have killed the bill, further questioning the future of imminent financial relief for millions of struggling Americans.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats would vote Monday on a standalone bill that would allow Americans to make direct payments of $ 2,000 per person.
Trump's comments on Tuesday left Washington in chaos after lawmakers spent months negotiating a deal on the biggest bill of the year, and it left many frustrated that Trump had waited so long to voice his concerns after largely abandoning the negotiation process would have .
Before Trump spoke, all the signs and expectations had been that he intended to sign the measure as soon as it landed on his desk. This is what the White House aides said.
A senior Senate Republican called on Trump Thursday to sign the bill, adding that he did not support increasing payments.
"The best way out is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope he does," Roy Blunt of Missouri, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, told reporters.
When asked if a bill to increase direct payment checks from $ 600 to $ 2,000 would get the 60 votes required for Senate passage, Blunt said, "It wouldn't."
Already passed by Congress, the bill has two bills that have been combined: one was the Covid-19 Bill on Facilitation and Incentives, and the other was a major spending bill to fund the government through September. If the spending bill doesn't go into effect, the government must begin closing on Tuesday.
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