Trump's Reaction To Second Coronavirus Package Creates Chaos
COVID-19 Politics

President Trump Throws Monkey Wrench Into Stimulus Talks, Demands $2,000 Checks

House COVID relief
A United States Treasury coronavirus stimulus payment (Image: iStock/filo)

President Trump’s reaction to the second coronavirus relief package has thrown a wrench into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s plan to keep the relief package under $1 trillion.

The president received the second coronavirus stimulus package, which was tied to a government spending bill, on Dec. 22. Trump attacked the bill in a Twitter video, claiming it does a lot for foreign interests but leaves Americans short.

“The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated,” Trump says in the video. “It really is a disgrace.”

Trump went on to add that none of the lawmakers who crafted the bill actually read it because of its length and complexity. He then began listing the amounts of foreign aid the bill sends to other countries and programs in the U.S. before berating Congress for not helping Americans.

“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” Trump said.

Coronavirus stimulus checks ($600) and the federal unemployment benefit ($300) in the second package are half what they were in the first round. Trump however, called on Congress to increase the amount of stimulus checks to $2,000 and $4,000 for couples.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has been at odds with Trump since he was elected, endorsed his position for larger coronavirus stimulus checks on Twitter.

“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks,” Pelosi tweeted, placing the blame on GOP lawmakers. “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!” Pelosi wrote.

Trump and Pelosi’s statements put significant pressure on McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who both took credit for the bill. Schumer not only expressed approval over the bill, but after Pelosi’s tweet supporting the increase in stimulus checks, he called on Trump to pass the bill as it stands saying Congress could pass more relief in the future.

“Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need,” he wrote on Twitter, noting that the Democrats spent “months” trying to get $2,000 stimulus checks included.

Congress passed the $2.3 trillion package to fund the government and provide relief to Americans by a 92-6 vote Tuesday. Trump has until next Monday to sign the bill. The coronavirus pandemic has not relented at all and is well on the way to a death toll of more than 400,000.