Trump Won’t Sign COVID Stimulus Without Changes
President Donald Trump is threatening to halt the much needed and long discussed coronavirus aid package that Congress passed on Monday evening.
The passage of the $900 billion relief bill was the culmination of months of bipartisan negotiation. It includes $600 stimulus payments for most Americans, as well as $300 plus-up payments for those who remain unemployed due to the ravages of the pandemic along with aid for struggling businesses.
In a video released on his Twitter account Tuesday, the president called the bill “a disgrace.” He told lawmakers he wouldn’t sign it unless it included $2,000 payments for each American, a more than 200% increase from the agreed upon proposal.
While that stipulation is likely to be popular with many people across the country, Trump also criticized the legislation because it was combined with a larger spending package meant to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, as well as fund the country’s military. The president described the spending outlined in the bill for those two purposes as “wasteful and unnecessary.”
The $600 personal stimulus payments were set for distribution next week, following the holiday weekend. With the fate of the bill now uncertain, it could still be weeks before any federal relief makes its way to states and cities across the country.
President-Elect Joe Biden, who will assume the Oval Office inside of a month, called the $900 billion stimulus package a “down payment,” adding that he will press Congress for more coronavirus relief after he’s officially sworn in as president in January.