Pres. Trump asks Congress to amend COVID-19 relief bill, wants bigger stimulus checks

National

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Donald Trump called on Congress to amend the COVID-19 relief bill, saying he wants $600 stimulus checks to be increased to $2,000.

“The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter Tuesday. “It really is a disgrace.”

U.S. government operations are being funded on a temporary basis through Dec. 28, waiting for the $1.4 trillion in federal spending for fiscal 2021 that is also part of the bill.

Failure to either pass another stopgap bill or override a possible Trump veto of the legislation could result in a partial government shutdown.

Congress passed the legislation overwhelmingly on Monday night, and lawmakers have since left the Capitol for the holidays.

“This comes as quite a surprise,” Rep Adam Schiff (D-Calif) told NewsNation. “This is the problem when you have president who claims to be a dealmaker but is essentially missing in action.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seemed to respond to Trump’s video on Twitter saying: “The #COVID19 package, while imperfect, will save jobs and lives. The sooner the bill becomes law – the better. It will allow millions of businesses to avoid bankruptcy, deliver vaccines even faster, help those unemployed and provide money for families who are struggling.”

Trump said he wants Congress to increase the amount in the stimulus checks to $2,000 for individuals or $4,000 for couples, instead of the “ridiculously low” $600 for individuals currently in the bill.

Trump also complained about money in the legislation for foreign countries, the Smithsonian Institution and fish breeding, among other spending that is in the part of the legislation to fund the government.

“I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package. And maybe that administration will be me,” he said.

Trump also said a two-year tax break for corporate meal expenses was “not enough” to help struggling restaurants.

The White House did not signal any objections to the legislation before it passed, and gave every expectation that Trump would sign it. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was involved in the negotiations over the bill.

White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s intentions.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a tweet that Republicans would not say during negotiations what amount Trump wanted the stimulus checks to be. She said Democrats are ready to bring his proposal for $2,000 checks to the House floor for an unanimous consent vote this week. Unanimous consent means that if one Senator objects, the request is overruled. She did not address Trump’s other concerns.

It is expected Democrats will bring the proposal to the House floor Thursday morning.

Trump’s complaints came just as the 5,500-page bill was being processed for sending to the White House for signing by the president, who is scheduled to leave on Wednesday afternoon to spend the rest of the year at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.

This is a developing story. Watch “NewsNation” now for the latest updates.

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