President Donald Trump said that Congress needs to pass a pandemic stimulus bill that includes $2,000 direct payments to Americans—not the $600 ones—or else he will veto it.
“It wasn’t their fault; it was China’s fault.”
The president said that he will veto the bill unless Congress can provide more money in stimulus payments and loans to small businesses in the midst of the pandemic.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” he said. “I am also asking Congress to get rid of the unnecessary and wasteful items in this legislation.”
Trump said that lawmakers need to send him a suitable piece of legislation by his standards—or else the next administration will have to sign off on the measure.
“And maybe that administration will be me,” Trump added.
The president pointed to hundreds of millions of dollars tagged for the Egyptian military, Cambodia, Burma, “gender programs” in Pakistan, and numerous other countries. These provisions were also singled out by progressives and conservatives alike as an example of pork-barrel spending.
Other non-pandemic measures were included, such as combatting the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes area, construction projects at the FBI, and others.
The president said he would also veto the bill because stimulus payments are being doled out to “illegal aliens” and their families.
“Despite all of this wasteful spending, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers only $600 [to Americans] in relief payments,” he said, arguing that not enough cash is being provided to small business owners who have suffered during the pandemic induced lockdowns.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) early on Tuesday morning called on the president not to veto the defense bill but said he would work to override it.
“My intention was and is to ensure the Senate continues fulfilling our obligation to the men and women of our armed forces. I hope the president will not veto this bill,” McConnell said on the floor at around 1 a.m.
McConnell added on the floor, referring to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), that::“The Democratic Leader and I have agreed to unanimous request as follows: the Senate will meet for pro forma sessions only until December 29th when we will return to session.”