Sen. Pat Toomey is encouraging President Donald Trump to sign the coronavirus relief legislation into law, despite its many flaws.
“There are a lot of provisions I don’t like. There’s provisions the Democrats don’t like,” the Pennsylvania Republican told Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing” on Wednesday.
“This is what we were able to get to, and my suggestion would be, let’s pass this and get this signed, let’s get this into law, and we can have an ongoing discussion about where there should be additional direct payments or not.”
Trump had been expected to sign the $2.3 trillion federal government spending package, which includes $908 billion in coronavirus relief, once it was approved by the Senate on Monday night, according to Fox News.
Instead, the president called it “wasteful” and a “disgrace.”
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it. It wasn’t their fault. It was China’s fault,” Trump said.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple.”
Statement by Donald J. Trump, The President of the United States
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
He added, “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package, and maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done.”
Trump signaled he might not sign the legislation into law until larger stimulus payments to Americans were approved, breaking with many Republicans on the issue.
Toomey was surprised by this reaction because “the president’s people were intimately involved every step of the way” as the legislation was negotiated.
He said he didn’t support increased payments to Americans “because the vast majority of the money inevitably goes to people who never had a loss of income.”
“Consider all the federal employees, millions of people across the country who never lost a dime of income,” Toomey said. “Why would we be sending them $600, much less 2,000?”
In response to Tuesday’s concerns from Trump, Democrats sought to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000 per person on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Unemployment benefits for 14 million Americans are set to expire on Saturday and an eviction moratorium protecting 30 million Americans will expire at the end of the month.
“The federal government will shut down Monday at midnight if lawmakers do not approve an extension in funding,” The Post reported.
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