President Donald Trump has urged Congress to make amendments to the $900-billion coronavirus pandemic relief Bill it passed on Monday, with a steep hike in stimulus payments.
The House and Senate passed a coronavirus relief bill late Monday night, along with legislation to fund the government through the end of September.
A one-off $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans was one of the main highlights of the deal that a deeply divided Congress agreed to after months of talks.
“I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter Tuesday, plunging the long-awaited aid bill into turmoil and leaving the Capitol Hill embarrassed.
“I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a Covid relief package.” Trump said.
Trump questioned foreign aid funding in the bill. “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it. It wasn’t their fault. It was China’s fault.”
If Trump vetoes or refuses to sign the Bill by December 28, the government could shut down because it includes a $1.4 trillion spending measure to fund federal agencies for the next nine months.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats are ready to bring the proposed hike of $2,000 to the Floor of the Congress this week by unanimous consent.
“Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open,” according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Enhanced unemployment benefits, support for businesses and direct stimulus payments are the main highlights of the Bill.
Other main features of the Bill are $82 billion in aid for K-12 schools and colleges, $20 billion for the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and $25 billion in rental assistance for individuals who lost job.
The Bill comes as a short-term relief to millions of Americans economically and physically devastated by the pandemic.
The country is badly in need of an aid package as many Covid-19 relief programs were set to expire by December end, and new restrictions caused by the pandemic are stifling businesses.
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