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Trump calls Covid relief bill unsuitable and demands Congress add bigger stimulus payments

President Donald Trump, in a stunning Tuesday night tweet, called the $900 billion Covid relief bill passed by Congress an unsuitable “disgrace” and urged lawmakers to make a number of changes to the measure, including bigger direct payments to individuals and families. Trump also suggested that his administration might be the “next administration,” despite his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.

The relief legislation passed by Congress on Monday was negotiated in part by a senior Trump administration official, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Trump himself had been absent from the talks since before the election. Lawmakers went home for the holidays after passing the bill.

The president’s tweet, which included a video of him discussing what he considers the bill’s many flaws, including funding headed overseas, came less than 24 hours after the Senate passed the measure. The foreign aid provisions are part of a $1.4 trillion measure to keep the government funded, which was paired with the Covid relief bill.

Trump did not threaten a veto in the video, and he had been expected to sign the legislation into law, along with the bill to keep the government open. The legislation passed both houses of Congress with veto-proof majorities.

“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said in the video.

In another jarring twist, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of Trump’s political arch enemies, agreed with his call for $2,000 payments. “Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” she tweeted.

House Democrats, who hold a majority in the chamber, will seek to see if they can pass a measure for $2,000 direct payments by unanimous consent Thursday, Christmas Eve, according to a senior Democratic aide. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer did not specify the day, but said in a tweet that the vote would happen this week.

The House will be in a pro forma session, and it will only take one lawmaker to prevent its passage.

Trump calls Covid relief bill unsuitable and demands Congress add bigger stimulus payments, CNBC, Dec 23

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