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Democrats sent mixed messages in response to President Donald Trump slamming the COVID-19 relief package just passed by Congress and calling for more money for desperate American families struggling to get by.
While some reacted by calling this an “attack” on Americans, others hailed the idea of bigger checks.
In a video posted online early Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump called the relief bill a “disgrace,” saying the agreed upon $600 stimulus checks are “ridiculously low.” Instead, the president called for $2,000 per individual and $4,000 for couples.
Noting that for months, Democrats blocked any relief effort, Trump said it has taken Congress “forever” to agree to a deal and that the end result was different than what was anticipated, as he threatened to veto the measure.
The relief package was passed as part of a massive 5,500 page bill to fund the federal government, and Trump detailed “wasteful” spending on foreign aid and other things.
“Among the more than 5,000 pages in this bill, which nobody in Congress has read because of its length and complexity, it’s called the COVID Relief Bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” the president said. “This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, $134 million to Burma, $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment. $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan, $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. $40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which is not even open for business. $1 billion for the Smithsonian and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art. Likewise, these facilities are essentially not open.”
Turning his attention to what the American people were given, he called for a major increase in the stimulus checks.
“The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up $1,800 each,” the president said. “This is far more than the Americans are given.
“Despite all of this wasteful spending, and much more, the $900 billion package provides hard-working taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments and not enough money is given to small businesses — and in particular restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously,” he continued. “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. Not their fault. I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple.”
Trump concluded by requesting that Congress “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.”
It’s hard to argue that suffering American families deserve more help in response to the pandemic, and there has been widespread condemnation over the planned $600 payments being paltry, but Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., responded by calling the president’s appeal an “attack on every American.”
Amy Klobuchar says Trump refusing to sign a bill that gives people next to nothing and wanting instead for people to receive $2k is an attack on every American. pic.twitter.com/Eoa6B4797R
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 23, 2020
But Klobuchar apparently didn’t get the memo that her party was hailing the idea of larger checks.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who singlehandedly held up a relief deal for months prior to the election, continued to play politics with the American people’s misery.
Suggesting Republicans stood in the way of bigger stimulus checks, Pelosi embraced the idea in an attempt to score political points.
“Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” the hypocritical speaker tweeted.
Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. 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! https://t.co/Th4sztrpLV
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
Never mind that Trump offered to sign a standalone bill for stimulus checks prior to the election, only to have Pelosi respond with an emphatic no.
In early October, Trump asked Congress to send him a stand-alone bill authorizing a second round of $1,200 checks.
Trump offered to sign a standalone bill for stimulus checks 77 days ago.
Pelosi said no.
— thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) December 23, 2020
Sen. Bernie Sanders was all in on Trump’s call, rushing to take credit for the idea of $2,000 checks.
That's great! I first introduced a bill to provide a $2,000 direct payment with @SenKamalaHarris & @EdMarkey 7 months ago. Now, Mr. President, get Mitch McConnell and your Republican friends to stop opposing it and we can provide working class Americans with $2,000. Let's do it. https://t.co/fKvqBsqM0k
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 23, 2020
With Pelosi sending out the new talking points, Sanders’ protégé, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was quick to fall in line — this coming after she panned the massive bill herself.
But then, having just been snubbed for a coveted committee seat after calling for Pelosi to be replaced, perhaps AOC was looking to get back in the speaker’s good graces.
Let’s do it. @RashidaTlaib and I already co-wrote the COVID amendment for $2,000 checks, so it’s ready to go.
Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation.
We can pass $2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to stand down. https://t.co/GprwrUPali pic.twitter.com/nFFs1ExqCK
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 23, 2020
The good thing about being a Democrat in post-Obama America is that you need not be dissuaded by things like morals, values or standards.
This you, Scott? pic.twitter.com/ttUxbo8dFj
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 23, 2020
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led the way for tone-deaf Republicans urging the president to sign the existing bill into law.
Relief is on the way as soon as the bill becomes law.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 23, 2020
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