President Donald Trump again demanded that Congress increase direct payments to Americans and get rid of non-pandemic-related measures in the latest relief bill.
“Increase payments to the people, get rid of the ‘pork,'” Trump wrote early on Dec. 27, again posting a video to say he would likely veto the stimulus package. Since then, the president has repeatedly called for $2,000 direct payments to individuals—rather than the $600 that was approved by lawmakers earlier this month.
Since negotiations restarted in the late summer, Trump has repeatedly called for at least $1,200 payments, saying it wasn’t Americans’ fault, it was the Chinese Communist Party’s fault for failing to contain the virus and misleading the rest of the world about it.
In another tweet, the president suggested that Congress could pass a measure that provides $4,000 for a couple, and payments for each child. The CARES Act in March authorized $1,200 payments to Americans and $500 payments to children.
He wrote, “$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!”
Trump, meanwhile, said governors and mayors are partially responsible for the economic hardship that has affected many people this year.
The lockdown orders “are absolutely ruining the lives of so many people—Far more than the damage that would be caused by the China Virus,” he wrote. “Cases in California have risen despite the lockdown, yet Florida & others are open & doing well. Common sense please!”
On Dec. 22, the president pointed to hundreds of millions of dollars tagged for the Egyptian military, Cambodia, Burma, “gender programs” in Pakistan, and aid for numerous other countries. Some of the provisions were also singled out by progressives and conservatives alike as examples of pork-barrel spending.
Trump also noted that tens of millions of dollars are going to the Kennedy Center in Washington, “which is not even open for business,” as well as the National Gallery of Arts and the Smithsonian building. Other non-pandemic measures were included, such as combating the spread of Asian carp in the Great Lakes area, construction projects at the FBI, and others.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in response, said House members will vote on Dec. 28 about the $2,000 stimulus payments.
“Monday, I will bring the House back to a session where we will hold a recorded vote on our standalone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000,” Pelosi said in a statement. “To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need.”