Trump calls on Congress to approve $2,000 stimulus checks, hinting he might not sign relief bill.
The US congress just passed their Covid stimulus bill, or the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” to give its official
title, but many Americans and law makers are asking what is actually in the legislation.
It’s the longest bill in US history, at over 5500 pages and it sailed through the voting mostly sight unseen.
"So what’s actually inside it? What has just been passed into law? Nobody really knows" -AP
President Trump on Tuesday night asked Congress to amend the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill passed just one day before, describing the legislation as “a disgrace” and suggesting he would not immediately sign off on the bill citing multiple items included in the package that "Has nothing to do with the Coronavirus"
“It’s called the COVID relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID.” - Donald Trump
In a video posted to Twitter, Trump called on Congress to increase the “ridiculously low” $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 and outlined a list of provisions in the overall package of legislation that he described as “wasteful spending and much more.”
“I am also asking Congress to 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.” Trump said.
The video landed like a sonic boom in Washington. Congressional aides were stunned. Stock market futures quickly slumped on the prospect that the economic aid could be in doubt.
So what is in this bill? I have provided a copy below if you want to read for yourself... The bill had broad bipartisan support, clearing the Senate by a 92-to-6 margin. Shortly after the bill was made public many Americans and law makers began protesting the bill for including billions in foreign aid and to programs that had nothing to do with the virus as well as not including enough relief for restaurants, other small businesses, and everyday unemployed Americans.
Trump’s aides had made positive comments about the bill lawmakers passed, but Trump had largely stayed out of negotiations. Last week, he had complained to some aides that the $600 stimulus checks were too low and that he wanted them raised to $1,200 or $2,000, but aides had convinced him not to intervene, saying it could scuttle the whole package.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple,” - Donald Trump
The $600 direct payments added roughly $167 billion to the $900 billion package. Increasing the payments to $2,000 per adult would grow the cost of the bill by $370 billion.
Concerns circulated this week on social media about what actually was in the 5,593 page document, and how our lawmakers had time to read it before signing it. Up against the holiday deadline the bill was passed but many people and law makers from both parties began raising concerns after the fact, which led to the president's response Tuesday night.
In the video he lays out what he calls "wasteful spending" The president cites:
$85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia
$134 Million in aid to Burma (Myanmar)
$1.3 Billion in aid for Egypt
$505 Million in aid for Central American countries
$25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan
$154 million for the National Gallery of Art (Currently Closed)
$40 Million for the Kennedy Center (Currently Closed)
$1 Billion for the Smithsonian (Currently Closed)
$7 Million for reef fish management
$25 Million to combat Asian carp
$2.5 Million to count amberjack fish in Gulf of Mexico
$3 Million for poultry technology
$556 Million construction projects at FBI
$1,800 in aid to illegal immigrant families --- More than the average American family.
In addition to what the president laid out it has also been confirmed that included in the bill is
Over $500 million each in aid to Sudan, Israel and Ukraine
Nearly $300 million is put aside to develop influenza vaccines and "prevent a future influenza pandemic"
Vaccine “misinformation” is also a concern, and the bill provides for a pro-vaccine ad campaign – or rather a “Public Awareness Campaign on the Importance of Vaccination”
An additional section on copyright law, which makes illegal streaming copyrighted content a federal crimes, punishable by up to three years in prison.
A ban on surprise medical billing
The Water Resources Development Act of 2020
$15 billion to bail out Movie Theaters
$82 billion to bail out Institutions of Higher Education and Colleges
$10 Billion childcare assistance, and Pell Grant expansion
$10 billion loan forgiven for the United States Postal Service
$45 billion for transit agencies, airlines, airports, state departments of transportation, the motorcoach industry, and Amtrak
$63 billion for vaccine distribution, testing and tracing, and other health-care initiatives
$20 billion for States for Vaccine Logistics
$20 Billion for States for Covid Testing
$5 Million increase to Congress' Medical Budget for Covid Testing
$4 Billion dollars for the Bill Gates-funded GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
$13 billion to increase Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and child nutrition benefits
$25 billion in rental assistance and extension of the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021
Extension or permanence for temporary provisions known as tax extenders
Several items of interest by policymakers did not make it into the package. For example, additional state and local aid is not in the relief bill. Similarly, liability protections for businesses reopening during the pandemic are not included.
It has been confirmed by multiple sources and from reading the official document that all of these appropriations and more are included in the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021" and accompanying omnibus bill to fund the government that has been passed by both houses of congress and are currently awaiting presidential approval.
Trump did not threaten to veto the package in Tuesday’s video. However, should he choose to take that step, those vote totals would be enough to override a veto. His video has gained widespread support from both democrats and republicans who oppose the bill including leading democrats who promised Tuesday to push for a higher direct payment.
So what ACTUALLY is in this bill? I have provided a copy below if you want to read for yourself...
We will keep you updated as the story develops.