Trump Hints ‘Good News’ on COVID-19 Relief Bill Amid Battle Over Stimulus Checks

Trump Hints ‘Good News’ on COVID-19 Relief Bill Amid Battle Over Stimulus Checks
President Donald Trump waves before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Dec. 12, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)
Janita Kan

President Donald Trump hinted that a resolution may have been reached on the COVID-19 Relief Bill as lawmakers urge the president to take action on the $2.3 trillion spending measure.

“Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!” Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday evening as a partial government shutdown looms.
This comes after millions of Americans lost federal unemployment benefits a day before, when Congress failed to meet the president’s demands to increase the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have renewed their calls to urge Trump to sign the emergency relief bill or veto it immediately. Trump has not committed to signing or vetoing the bill but has instead pressured lawmakers to review spending in the omnibus component of the bill that he believes is “wasteful” and “unnecessary.”

“Mr. President, we are asking you to please sign the emergency relief bill. This act will show your support for the American people who are in need of emergency lifelines like food, shelter, unemployment benefits and small business relief during these challenging times,” a bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote in a statement on Sunday.

“However, if your objection to the COVID-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately. You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late.

“Never before in your personal, professional, or political life have you been characterized as a man of inaction. Now is not the time to sit idly by—please do the right thing and sign or veto this bill immediately,” they added.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also called on Trump to sign the bill.

On Saturday, Trump explained his reasons for his inaction on the bill, saying “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 renewed his pressure on Congress on Sunday, demanding lawmakers to increase direct payments to Americans and get rid of non-pandemic-related measures in the mammoth omnibus bill.
The bill was sent to Trump’s desk for signature on Christmas Eve after a unanimous consent filed by House Democrats to increase the payments but neglecting to address alleged superfluous spending was blocked by Republicans, and a counter request to revisit foreign spending filed by House Republicans was rejected by Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed on Thursday that she would call House members back into session on Monday to vote on the $2,000 direct payments.
Some Republican lawmakers have opposed the bill as they believe the additional borrowing would amount to almost $500 billion.
“Someone’s got to pay for that. We can’t just have free money,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told Utah’s KUTV.

The legislative text of the over 5,500-page bill was given to House lawmakers just hours before a scheduled vote. Lawmakers griped at the lack of time to read the massive spending bill.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being sent as forms of aid to foreign countries and other forms of American engagement abroad, according to the omnibus bill. This spending has come under intense scrutiny in recent days.

Trump slammed Congress for spending money on what he described as “unnecessary” programs and foreign aid, and “wasteful items” while Americans continue to struggle due to pandemic lockdowns.