President Donald Trump called on Congress to increase the amount of stimulus checks provided in the COVID-19 relief stimulus package to $2,000 from $600.
He posted a video on his Twitter account Tuesday, December 22, saying the coronavirus relief bill should be amended to increase the check amount and “remove wasteful and unnecessary items.”
The video came two days after Congress reached an agreement on a new stimulus package, providing $908 billion in relief. The economic relief package includes $600 direct payments to Americans and $300 in enhanced unemployment for 10 weeks, according to CBS News. Individuals making less than $75,000 per year or couples making less than $150,000 will be the only ones to receive the $600 checks, the news outlet reported. Individuals who earn between $75,000 and $100,000 will receive gradually smaller payments, and individuals whose income exceeds $100,000 will not receive a stimulus check. Dependent children will receive $600, according to CBS News. They previously received $500.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Was Expected to Sign the COVID-19 Relief Bill But Called it a ‘Disgrace’ & Did Not Sign
Trump called the $900 billion economic stimulus package a “disgrace” in a video posted on his Twitter account, saying lawmakers should make changes to the package. This included an increase in check amounts to be sent to Americans. The tweet came less than 24 hours after the Senate voted to pass the bill.
“The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated,” Trump said in the video posted on Twitter. “It really is a disgrace.”
CNBC reported Trump had been expected to sign the legislation, along with a $1.4 trillion spending bill to keep the government open. Trump did not threaten to veto the legislation.
“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 in the video.
Trump Called on Congress to Eliminate Items From Its COVID Relief Bill & Provide More Stimulus Money
Trump said the new COVID-19 stimulus package provides funding for unnecessary items that could be better used to provide economic support to Americans.
“It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” he said.
He lists examples including $85.5 million in assistance to Cambodia, $134 million in funding to Burma, $1.3 billion to Egypt and its military, $25 million for “democracy and gender programs” in Pakistan, $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatamala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, $40 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, $1 billion for the Smithsonian and $154 for the National Gallery of Art, $7 million for reef fish management, $25 million “to combat Asian carp,” $2.5 million “to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico,” in addition to other environmental projects, $566 million for construction projects at the FBI and stimulus checks for family members of undocumented immigrants.
In addition to saying stimulus checks are too low, not enough is designated for small businesses and restaurants in particular, he said.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” he said.
Trump said the bill is more than 5,000 pages long, and claimed no one in Congress had actually read it “because of its length and complexity.”
He concluded the video with a claim that he may stay in office.
“I am 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, and we will get it done,” he said.