President Donald Trump on Monday blasted the partisan hodgepodge of non-COVID relief items in the stimulus legislation that Congress has approved, saying it sends too much money overseas and puts too little in the hands of Americans.
Trump posted a Twitter video that demanded Congress make major changes to the bill, including $2,000 per-person checks for Americans.
“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left-wing agenda and influence the election,” Trump said in the video.
“Then a few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever.
“However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace,” Trump said.
He said in reference to the 5,000-plus-page bill: “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID.”
“This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia; $134 million to Burma, $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment; $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan; $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; $40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which is not even open for business; $1 billion for the Smithsonian; and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art. Likewise, these facilities are essentially not open,” he said.
Trump criticized the bill for giving up to $1,800 each to the family members of illegal immigrants.
“This is far more than the Americans are given. Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments, and not enough money is given to small businesses,” he said.
Trump singled out restaurant owners as being mistreated by the proposal.
“Restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously. They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurant, for two years. This two-year period must be withdrawn, which will allow the owners to obtain financing and get their restaurants back in condition,” he said.
Trump then turned to his core message, and one that resonated with many lawmakers: Americans need more cash in the bill.
.@realDonaldTrump is right – workers deserve much more than $600, as I have repeatedly said & fought for. And there’s obviously plenty of $$ to do it – look at what Congress threw away on corporate giveaways & foreign buyouts. Let’s get it done
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 23, 2020
That’s great! I first introduced a bill to provide a $2,000 direct payment with @SenKamalaHarris & @EdMarkey 7 months ago. Now, Mr. President, get Mitch McConnell and your Republican friends to stop opposing it and we can provide working class Americans with $2,000. Let’s do it. https://t.co/fKvqBsqM0k
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 23, 2020
Let’s do it. @RashidaTlaib and I already co-wrote the COVID amendment for $2,000 checks, so it’s ready to go.
Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 23, 2020
Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it! https://t.co/Th4sztrpLV
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
“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. Not their 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,” 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,” he said.
As of Wednesday morning, it was unclear whether Trump’s comments would alter the size or substance of the legislation.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.