Pres. Trump Calls On Congress To Approve $2K Stimulus Checks; Suggests He May Veto Bill
Dec 22, 2020, 10:47 PM | Updated: 10:57 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The fate of the COVID relief bill was in the air Tuesday after President Donald Trump hinted in a late-night video posted to Twitter that he may not sign the bill.
More relief for Americans struggling in the face of a pandemic has been in the works for months. It passed easily in the House Monday night 359-53 and in the Senate Tuesday morning 92-6.
“The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace,” Trump said, arguing it offers too much money to foreign countries and not enough to Americans.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
“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. “It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it almost has nothing to do with COVID.”
Lawmakers combined the $900 billion of COVID relief with a $1.4 trillion spending plan – that includes foreign aid – to fund the government through September. Together the bill was nearly 5,600 pages long, drawing criticism from both sides of the aisle.
“This is going to take us over three hours just to print it out,” Sen. Mike Lee said in a video on Twitter before the vote. “Being asked to vote on something that we’ve never had the opportunity to see, much less digest or amend is unacceptable.”
1/4 This is the spending bill under consideration in Congress today. I received it just moments ago, and will likely be asked to vote on it late tonight. It’s 5,593 pages long. I know there are some good things in it. I’m equally confident that there are bad things in it. pic.twitter.com/SoWXnEWYfV
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 21, 2020
Lee was one of six senators to vote no.
Sen. Mitt Romney had a different take – praising the bill’s provisions that provide emergency relief to businesses, extend unemployment benefits at $300 a week and support healthcare providers and vaccine distribution.
In a statement, he wrote, “Thousands of Americans are in dire need of the lifeline this legislation provides, and I urge the President to sign it without delay.”
The bill includes direct payments of $600 to adults and children. But on Tuesday, Trump demanded that number go up to $2,000 a person – an amount many democrats agree with.
“I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package,” Trump said. “And maybe that administration will be me.”
Before Trump released his video responding to the bill, several of Utah’s representatives weighed in on their decision to vote yes or no.
Rep. Ben McAdams acknowledged, “The bill isn’t perfect, but hardworking Utah families and small business owners need relief now as we continue to cope with the effects of the pandemic.”
Rep. Chris Stewart said, “I simply cannot support a bill that was crafted without offsets and mechanisms to address our nation’s spending problem.”
And Rep. John Curtis said, “While there are many provisions in this legislation that I support…I could not vote for a bill that spends over $2 trillion taxpayer dollars without fully understanding how it could impact Utah and Utahns.”