Yesterday social media was in an uproar after Donald Trump suggested changes made to the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress.
Unfortunately, Trump’s position could threaten to blow up the carefully drafted bill that his own administration helped to negotiate, which could lead to a government shutdown and send the economy into a whirlwind if he carried through with a veto.
In a video released to Twitter, Trump said, “I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple.” He added, “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.”
The message came after he largely left negotiations over the measure to lawmakers and his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Trump did not explicitly threaten to veto the bill but said he was dissatisfied with its final state.
He said in the video, “A few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever.” He added, “However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.”
On Twitter, Nancy Pelosi appeared to favor Trump’s message; she tweeted: “Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks.” She said, “At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent, Let’s do it!”
However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted: “we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need” but stressed that “Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open.” He said, “Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again.”
According to CNN, Trump’s message isn’t going to prompt a renegotiation of the measure, which passed with big veto-proof majorities.
Some on Capitol Hill are hopeful that Trump won’t veto the bill since he never actually said he would.
On Thursday, House Democrats will try to pass a bill to increase direct payments by unanimous consent. It’s unclear what will happen if such a bill is blocked.
Government funding runs out next Monday.
In the past, Trump has said he would sign the bill, and earlier Tuesday, the White House publicly defended the bill. But many of his allies have spoken out against the agreement passed.
Although Trump told the people around him that he wanted the direct payments to be much larger, he did not indicate that he could not consider the $600 package—half the $1,200 amount accepted in the first relief package that had been pressed for this time by some lawmakers.
Trump’s aides signed off, assuming that Trump was on board when an agreement was reached between Congressional leaders, although two officials said on Tuesday they didn’t think he was going through the package in depth.