“I simply want to get our great people $2,000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork,’” he wrote in a Twitter post on Saturday morning.
The president apparently was referring to the personally motivated spending in the COVID relief and Omnibus spending bill which was passed in the House and the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that the bill has been enrolled and sent to the White House.
Trump implied in a video statement on Dec. 22—after the bill was passed in the Congress—that he would block the bill unless Congress removed billions in spending allocated to foreign nations and domestic institutions unrelated to the battle against the COVID-19, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, the disease caused by the CCP virus.
The foreign aid items Trump criticized are a standard feature in annual spending bills, but nevertheless triggered Trump’s reaction as they were included with the $600 payments Congress took months to negotiate. He highlighted that the 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.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) confirmed Trump’s stance on the $2,000 checks on Friday.
He said the president is “more determined than ever” to increase payments from $600 to $2,000 in the spending and COVID-19 stimulus bill.
“After spending some time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2,000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection,” Graham wrote in a Twitter post.
“Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people,” he added.
Graham spent Christmas golfing with Trump at Trump International Golf Club in Florida and spoke out about Trump’s calls for a higher stimulus payment amount on Friday.
Section 230 is part of the communications code that largely shields online platforms from liability for content posted by their users, although they can be held liable for content that violates anti-sex trafficking or intellectual property laws.
The White House said in a policy statement that “Section 230 facilitates the spread of disinformation online and is a serious threat to our national security and election integrity. It must be repealed.”
The unemployment rate in America dipped down to 6.7 percent in November from 6.9 percent in October, six months after hitting a record high of 14.7 percent in April, according to data released by the Labor Department earlier this month (pdf).
There are now 10.9 million unemployed people in the United States, compared to 11.1 million in October, the government said, however, new forecasts suggest employment won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.
Allen Zhong contributed to the report.