Trump urges Congress to amend 'wasteful' coronavirus aid bill
Donald Trump (file image)
US President Trump has called on Congress to amend a stimulus coronavirus bill to increase stimulus payments to $ 2,000 (£ 1,500) per American.
In a video message posted on Twitter, he urged lawmakers "to remove wasteful and unnecessary items," adding that the package "is really a shame".
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"It's called the Covid Relief Bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid," he said.
The $ 900 billion bill includes one-time $ 600 payments to most Americans.
The Republican president, who is stepping down next month, was expected to sign the sweeping law after it was passed by Congress on Monday evening.
But in Tuesday night's message from the White House, he set about spending the bill on other countries, arguing that the money should go to warring Americans.
He said, "Congress found a lot of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests while sending bare essentials to the American people who needed it. It was not their fault. It was China's fault."
"I'm asking Congress to change this bill and increase the ridiculously low $ 600 to $ 2,000 or $ 4,000 for a couple.
"I also urge Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary elements of this legislation and send me an appropriate invoice, or the next government will have to deliver an aid package from Covid."
Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating a law to stimulate the coronavirus since July.
On Monday afternoon, the congress leaders unveiled the 5,593-page package and voted on it a few hours later.
Several lawmakers protested that they were not given an opportunity to read the contents.
Even so, Bill 359-53 sailed through the House of Representatives and 92-6 through the Senate.
The rescue package contains a number of provisions that will help tens of millions of Americans make ends meet in the pandemic-ridden economy.
The $ 600 one-time payments are half the amount made available by the last major coronavirus relief bill in March, which included $ 2.4 billion in economic relief.
The Monday package extends federal unemployment benefits up to $ 300 per week for 11 weeks, though that's again half the amount foreseen in the previous bill.
The package includes $ 25 billion in rental subsidies and extends an eviction moratorium due to expire later this month, a lifeline for millions of Americans.
The bill also prohibits surprising medical bills - where hospital patients are hit with often exorbitant stealth fees for being treated by a doctor who wasn't covered by their health insurer.
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