Trump Calls for More Stimulus Payments: ‘It Was the Fault of China,’ Not Americans

December 20, 2020 Updated: December 20, 2020

President Donald Trump implored Congress to pass a bill that includes direct stimulus payments after the provision was rejected last week.

“Why isn’t Congress giving our people a Stimulus Bill?” the president asked Saturday night. “It wasn’t their fault, it was the fault of China,” he added, referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that caused a worldwide pandemic. “GET IT DONE, and give them more money in direct payments.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) worked together to include the stimulus payments. Reports have indicated that the final bill will include $600 stimulus payments.

Hawley had pushed for another round of $1,200 stimulus payments, which were issued under the CARES Act in March. Some Democrats had sought a similar amount, or more.

Ahead of Trump’s tweet, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the Senate and House may vote on a $900 billion stimulus measure as early as Sunday, noting that lawmakers are close to hashing out a deal.

Hawley, in his own tweet, remarked that he was “assured by Senate GOP leadership that #COVID direct assistance to working people IS in the #covid relief bill under negotiation & will remain. And on that basis, I will consent to a brief continuing resolution to allow negotiations to conclude.” He added: “I will continue to fight for $1200/ person and $500 (min) for kids for working families.”

“If things continue on this path and nothing gets in the way, we’ll be able to vote tomorrow,” Schumer told reporters on Saturday.

They also face a government funding deadline of midnight on Sunday, which risks a government shutdown without any action.

Senator Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, had insisted on language that would guarantee that the central bank could not revive emergency lending programs for small businesses and state and local governments after Dec. 31, when they expire under the CARES Act COVID-19 relief legislation passed in March.

Republicans had said the programs are an unnecessary government interference in private business that politicizes the Fed. They accused Democrats of seeking to extend them into 2021 as a backdoor way to provide unchecked funds for state and local governments controlled by members of their party.

Democrats, Republicans, and the White House have been negotiating for more than six months over the scope and size of the bill. Democrats in May initially proposed a $3.3 trillion bill known as the HEROES Act, which was shot down by the White House and Senate Republicans as too expensive with too many unneeded provisions.

Later, when talks restarted in the late summer, negotiations between the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stalled. Trump said that Pelosi was ultimately responsible for the impasse as she didn’t want the president to benefit politically before the Nov. 3 election.

Reuters contributed to this report.