After signing Congress’ coronavirus relief package and annual spending bill, President Donald Trump released a statement Sunday evening about wasteful spending in the bill.
By signing the bill, Trump averted a government shutdown and restored federal unemployment benefits that had expired.
The president originally threatened to veto the bill last week, but immense pressure from both parties prompted his final decision.
“As President of the United States it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country,” Trump said in the statement. “I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed.
“I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.”
He cited the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 as a way for him to request certain spending cuts, but the requests are highly unlikely to successfully go through Congress.
Trump also made it clear that he is still pushing for $2,000 stimulus checks and Section 230 reforms.
“On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200. Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed,” the president said.
While the House voted Monday to increase the payments to $2,000 per person, the measure is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate, according to Axios.
Trump’s statement would not have been complete without his addressing allegations of widespread voter fraud, of which courts have yet to determine there is evidence.
“Likewise, the House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election,” Trump said.
While the legislation passed the House and Senate by overwhelming margins, its questionable expenditures on foreign aid, frivolous scientific studies and public funding of museums and concerts halls raised eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Outgoing Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii called the $600 stimulus checks “a slap in the face.”
“$600 is a slap in the face to every American struggling due to the pandemic. You deserve better. I voted against the 5,593-page spending bill that gave billions to corporate interests, the military industrial complex & other countries, leaving crumbs for you who need help most,” she tweeted on Dec. 21.
$600 is a slap in the face to every American struggling due to the pandemic. You deserve better.
I voted against the 5,593-page spending bill that gave billions to corporate interests, the military industrial complex & other countries, leaving crumbs for you who need help most. pic.twitter.com/82F1HYF43T
— Tulsi Gabbard ? (@TulsiGabbard) December 22, 2020
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, one of six Republican senators to vote against the bill, listed several reasons why many items seemed pointless.
“Why I voted Against The Bloated COVID Bill: Unconscionable Spending, Billions for NY Public Transport, Endless Lawsuits for Businesses, Grants for Prisoners, Illegal Immigrant Benefits, Energy Market Interference, Liberal Agenda-Driven Foreign Aid,” Blackburn tweeted Tuesday.
Why I voted Against The Bloated COVID Bill:
❌Billions for NY Public Transport
❌Endless Lawsuits for Businesses
❌Grants for Prisoners
❌Illegal Immigrant Benefits
❌Energy Market Interference
❌Liberal Agenda-Driven Foreign Aid
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) December 22, 2020
Ideally, Trump should have vetoed the bill and demanded Congress put forward a separate coronavirus relief bill that only had stimulus checks and other basic economic relief. Let’s hope he continues to put pressure on Congress to follow through with cutting wasteful spending.
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