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Donald Trump lashes out at Congress for 'ridiculously low' COVID stimulus, demands change

News Agencies | Updated on: 23 December 2020, 9:59 IST

Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted Congress over the COVID-19 relief package calling it 'a disgrace' and called for an increase in the 'ridiculously low' stimulus cheques from USD 600 to USD 2,000.

Trump, in a pre-recorded video posted on Twitter, slashed 'wasteful' foreign aid.

According to The Hill, the President expressed dismay with the USD 2.3 trillion package that Congress passed Monday, which includes USD 900 billion in coronavirus relief and USD 1.4 trillion to fund the government until October, conflating the two bills and saying the spending goals were misguided.

The President hit out at the Democratic party for "blocking COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their left-wing agenda and influence the election."

"A few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people-- it's taken forever. However, the bill they are planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace," Trump said in the video.

Trump claimed that no one in Congress has read the 5,000-page bill "because of its length and complexity" saying that the bill "has nothing to do with COVID relief."

"Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the USD 900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only USD 600 each in relief payments, and not enough money is given to small businesses, and in particular restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously," the outgoing President said.

According to The Hill, the bill includes special terms for restaurants and hotels to access larger loans from the Paycheck Protection Programme, a move praised by the National Restaurant Association. "It does not include the Restaurants Act, a bill the restaurant industry had pushed for earlier that would have set aside $120 billion in funds for restaurants or bars with fewer than 20 locations," it reported.

Trump slammed the US Congress for finding "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 (American people) fault -- it was China's fault," he said.

"I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low USD 600 to USD 2,000 or USD 4,000 for a couple. I am 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 and maybe that administration will be me," the President added.

House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi "who spent months pushing for a larger COVID-19 relief bill in the face of GOP (another nickname for Republican Party) opposition", said that she was "in full support of increasing the size of stimulus cheques.

"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!" Pelosi tweeted.

According to Sputnik, the US Congress on Monday passed a USD 900 billion emergency coronavirus relief bill that was consolidated with a USD 1.4 trillion spending bill to keep the government running in 2021.

The Senate passed the bill with a 92-6 veto-proof margin. The House of Representatives passed the bill in two veto-proof votes.


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First published: 23 December 2020, 9:59 IST