“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests,” Trump said on Tuesday night in a video released on his social media pages. “While sending the bare minimum to the American people who need 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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to Trump’s announcement on Twitter. She agreed with Trump’s $2,000 and said that Democrats are ready to bring the matter to the floor by unanimous consent this coming week. Pelosi also accused Republicans of having “repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks.”
On Monday night, a number of lawmakers griped that they didn’t have enough time to look through the approximately 5,500-page bill (pdf).
Trump also noted that tens of millions of dollars are going to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. “which is not even open for business,” as well as the National Gallery of Arts and the Smithsonian.
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.
The CCP virus stimulus package bill isn’t the only measure that Trump has threatened to veto in recent days. Last week, the president said he would veto the recently passed defense spending bill because it doesn’t include a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which serves as a liability shield for social media companies. The bill, meanwhile, would be a boon for China, Trump wrote on Twitter.
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.”