Let’s do this! Nancy Pelosi AGREES with Donald Trump after he threatened to VETO relief bill unless Congress increases checks from $600 to $2,000 and ditch ‘wasteful’ spending
- Trump tweets address from the White House almost 24 hours after Congress overwhelmingly passes massive COVID relief and spending package
- The twin bills come with $900 billion of economic aid, including $600 checks for most people, and $300-a-week unemployment boost
- The spending portion keeps the government from shutting down
- They passed the House 359-53 in the House and the Senate 91-7 – both veto-proof figures
- But Trump, who sat out months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, demanded ‘a suitable bill’ in what seemed to be a veto threat
- Trump said it would be up to ‘the next administration’ to deliver a relief package if he does not get a suitable bill
- He suggested he could succeed in overturning the election result before January 20 saying ‘maybe that administration will be me’
Published:19:37 EST, 22 December 2020 | Updated:21:32 EST, 22 December 2020
Nancy Pelosi has embraced Donald Trump’s calls to boost checks for Americans from $600 to $2,000 in the long-awaited next round of COVID-19 stimulus relief, telling the president ‘Let’s do this!’
Earlier Tuesday, Trump seemed to threaten to veto the $900 billion relief package passed by Congress on Monday that approved $600 checks for most Americans – a proposal widely criticized on both sides of the political aisle as being insufficient.
In a videoed address posted to his Twitter page, Trump said it had ‘taken forever’ to get the bill passed and called the outlined terms a ‘disgrace’.
‘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.
In a tweet responding to the video, House Speaker Pelosi appeared to call the president’s bluff, writing: ‘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!,’ she wrote.
Trump has not explicitly threatened a veto yet, but he made clear in his video that he’s unhappy with the current version, and is demanding drastic amendments.
His demands came minutes after the White House released a list of Trump’s latest pardons, including former GOP lawmakers Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins.
And if Trump doesn’t get what he wishes, his actions could prompt a government shutdown days after Christmas.
Both houses had easily passed the bill – 359-53 in the House and 91-7 in the Senate – both far above the two-thirds which would be needed to override a veto, but there may not be enough time in the Congressional calendar to fix it.
Trump went after one of the top Republican senators in a tweet after he dropped his video bombshell in an indication he was out for vengeance as he’s turned the final weeks of his presidency into a loyalty test for lawmakers in his party. +6
‘It’s a disgrace.’ Trump tweeted an address from the White House to rail against a bill passed by both parties in both chambers with overwhelming support+6
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi helped lead negotiations over the $900billion relief package that will send $600 to most Americans. She later tweeted she agreed with Trump
The package also easily passed the Senate, led by Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell. It now goes to President Trump for his signature+6
After releasing his video message, Trump went after members of his own party including Sen. John Thune and also Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have both publicly said that Joe Biden is the winner of the 2020 presidential election
The president threatened to primary Senator John Thune, a member of the GOP leadership, in the senator’s next re-election campaign after Thune said Republican senators would not support an effort by House conservatives to overturn the result from the electoral college.
The president wants Congress to refuse to certify the electoral college results as part of his attempt to overthrow the election.
Joe Biden won the with 306 votes to Trump’s 232.
Trump derisively referred to Thune, a longtime Republican senator, as ‘Mitch’s boy,’ a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has publicly recognized Biden as the president-elect and quietly urged GOP senators not to support the move to block the Electoral College certification.
‘Republicans in the Senate so quickly forget. Right now they would be down 8 seats without my backing them in the last Election. RINO John Thune, “Mitch’s boy”, should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!,’ Trump tweeted.
A group of House Republican lawmakers met privately with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Monday to discuss a long shot bid to challenge the electoral college results when Congress meets to certify them on January 6th.
Pence presides over the session, which requires an objection from a member of the House and the Senate for the results to be challenged.
Thune warned the effort will get no where with the upper chamber.
‘They’ve got to remember is,’ Thune warned the House lawmakers in remarks to reporters on Capitol Hill Monday, ‘it’s just not going anywhere. It’s going down like a shot dog. And I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.’
Trump complained about Thune shortly after he released a brief video address where he ran through a laundry list of complaints about the appropriations bill, which is attached to COVID relief.
He ran through periodic pet peeves of individual programs that are often targets in floor debates – though some have justifications that he glossed over.
He called out $40 million dollars for the Kennedy Center ‘in Washington, DC, which is not even open for business.’ The venue, like others is struggling in part due to the fact that it is closed due to the coronavirus.
Hours earlier, Trump named his senior adviser, Hope Hicks, to serve on the Kennedy Center’s board.
Trump also railed against funding to research ‘downed trees’ – although earlier in his term, he blasted California for allegedly failing to properly manage forests within its borders.
He also called out $1 billion for the Smithsonian and funds for the National Gallery of Art, noting the facilities are ‘essentially not open.’
He also ridiculed $7 million for reef fish management and $25 million to combat Asian carp.
According to Trump’s own Agriculture Department, Asian carp, which are not native to the U.S., ‘are causing issues in the Mississippi river and surrounding waters. Asian carp are fast-growing and prolific feeders that out-compete native fish and leave a trail of environmental destruction in their wake.’
He also blasted $566 million for construction projects at the FBI – which has been seeking to relocate from its downtown Washington DC offices, located across from Trump’s hotel.
He blasted ‘wasteful spending – and much more.’
He complained the package gave ‘hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments’ – despite his own allies raising concerns about the impact on the debt of the bill.
Trump also said ‘not enough money is given to small businesses and in particular restaurants whose owners have suffered so grievously.’
The Trump administration had pushed for what’s being dubbed the ‘three martini lunch’ provision to be added to the bill. ‘
Now Trump complained that the deduction lasted for only two years.
There were Republicans and Democrats pushing for larger $1,200 checks. He called the $600 amount ‘ridiculously low.’
He called on Congress to nix ‘wasteful and unnecessary items’ from the legislation.
Trump said he wanted Congress to give individual Americans $2,000 and couples $4,000 in a revised version of the package.
In a tweet Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi egged him on.
‘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!’ she wrote.
Trump may not have to outright veto the massive legislation, which funds the government for the next fiscal year in addition to providing COVID relief, including the $600 checks to Americans.
The president can instead wield a rarely used procedural weapon known as the pocket veto, which would keep the legislation from becoming law without letting lawmakers have the chance to over ride a formal veto.
The pocket veto would be Trump’s best option given the legislation passed both chambers of Congress with super majorities – more than enough votes to over ride a presidential veto.
Several legislative stars have to align for a president to effectively use the pocket veto – a situation so rare President Barack Obama only used it once in his eight years in office.
A pocket veto works when a president effectively keeps the legislation in his ‘pocket’ – not signing it if it comes too close to the end of a Congressional adjournment, when Congress is done with law-making for the year.
Lawmakers passed the massive spending and relief package late Monday night – near the end of its current term.
Under Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, a president has ten days – with Sundays excluded – to either sign or veto a bill.
But, the current Congress must end its 116th session by 11:59:59 am on January 3 in what is called adjourning sine die, which means all legislative business is done.
Any legislation that did not become law is dead and must be brought up again in the 117th Congress.
So Trump could run out the Congressional clock and just let the legislation die because right now time is on his side.
Namely because the White House still has not received the legislation.
Because of its massive size – clocking in at more than 5,000 pages – the legislation has not completed the ‘enrollment’ process, which is the process it must go through after Congress passes it but before it goes down Pennsylvania Avenue to the president.
In order to avoid a pocket veto, Congress must get the legislation to Trump by December 23.
Complicating matters even more, amending the legislation as it stands now is not an option. Lawmakers would have to start over, draft an entirely new legislative package that would need to be passed by both chambers of Congress and then go to Trump.
Another problem: the legislation also contains the funding for the government.
If it doesn’t become law by December 28, there’s a government shutdown.
Trump’s speech had echoes of the one high-profile attack on it in Congress, when Senator Rand Paul had attacked his own party for voting for it saying they are ‘no better than Democrats.’
He told the Senate Monday afternoon: ‘To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better.’
Lawmakers tacked on a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill and thousands of pages of other end-of-session business in a massive bundle of bipartisan legislation as Capitol Hill prepared to close the books on the year.
Paul added: ‘If free money was the answer, if money really did grow on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000?
‘Maybe these new Free-Money Republicans should join the Everybody-Gets-A-Guaranteed-Income Caucus? Why not $20,000 a year for everybody, why not $30,000? If we can print out money with impunity, why not do it?’ +6
Senator Rand Paul had attacked his own party for voting for the relief package saying they are ‘no better than Democrats’. He said: ‘To so-called conservatives who are quick to identify the socialism of Democrats: If you vote for this spending monstrosity, you are no better’
The lopsided 359-53 House vote and 91-7 Senate tally was a bipartisan coda to months of partisanship and politicking as lawmakers wrangled over the relief question, a logjam that broke after President-elect Joe Biden urged his party to accept a compromise with top Republicans that is smaller than many Democrats would have liked.
Paul was joined by Sens. Rick Scott, Mike Lee, Marsha Blackburn, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson in voting against the package.
He said: ‘When you vote to pass out free money, you lose your soul and you abandon forever any semblance of moral or fiscal integrity.’
The relief package, unveiled Monday afternoon, sped through Congress in a matter of hours.
When to Expect Your Relief Check – if Trump Signs
Direct checks to Americans could start hitting accounts shortly after Jan. 1, now that Congress has passed the relief package.
Additionally, the relief could come quicker than it did in the first round earlier this year, as millions have verified their information on the IRS’s ‘Get My Payment’ site.
The bill combines coronavirus-fighting funds with financial relief for individuals and businesses.
It would establish a temporary $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans, along with a new round of subsidies for hard-hit businesses, restaurants, and theaters and money for schools, health care providers and renters facing eviction.
The 5,593-page legislation – by far the longest bill ever – came together Sunday after months of battling, posturing and postelection negotiating that reined in a number of Democratic demands as the end of the congressional session approached.
Biden was eager for a deal to deliver long-awaited help to suffering people and a boost to the economy, even though it was less than half the size that Democrats wanted in the fall.
‘This deal is not everything I want – not by a long shot,’ said Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., a longstanding voice in the party´s old-school liberal wing.
‘The choice before us is simple. It´s about whether we help families or not. It´s about whether we help small businesses and restaurants or not. It´s about whether we boost (food stamp) benefits and strengthen anti-hunger programs or not. And whether we help those dealing with a job loss or not. To me, this is not a tough call.’
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a key negotiator, said on CNBC Monday morning that the direct payments would begin arriving in bank accounts next week.
Democrats promised more aid to come once Biden takes office, but Republicans were signaling a wait-and-see approach.
COVID Stimulus Bill Breakdown
The $900billion stimulus plan Congress approved Monday would provide direct aid to citizens as well as aid to businesses.
- Direct payments of $600 to most adults and $600 per child. The check amount decreases for those who earned more than $75,000 in the 2019 tax year, and will not go out at all to those who made more than 99,000
- A $300 unemployment supplement while retaining pandemic-era programs that expanded unemployment insurance eligibility. The benefit could kick in by Dec. 27 and run through March 14
- $284 billion for government payroll loans, including expanded eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters. This includes $15 billion for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and $20 billion for targeted disaster grants
- $82 billion for colleges and schools, including support for heating-and-cooling systems upgrades to mitigate virus transmission and reopen classrooms, and $10 billion for child care assistance
- $45 billion for transportation assistance, including $15 billion to U.S. passenger airlines for payroll assistance, $14 billion for transit systems, $10 billion for state highway funding and $1 billion for Amtrak passenger railroad
- $25 billion for rental assistance for families struggling to stay in their homes, and an extension of the eviction moratorium.
- $26 billion for food/farm assistance. Increases food stamp benefits by 15% and provides funding to food banks, Meals on Wheels and other food aid. Provides an equal amount ($13 billion) in aid to farmers and ranchers.
- Expanded Pell Grants for college tuition, which would reach 500,000 new recipients and provide the maximum benefit for more than 1.5 million students
- Provides $10 billion to the Child Care Development Block Grant to help families with child care costs and help providers cover increased operating costs.
- $7 billion for broadband internet access, including $1.9 billion to replace telecom network equipment that poses national security risks
- $4 billion for an international vaccine alliance
- Forgives a $10 billion loan to the Postal Service provided in earlier relief legislation
- Contains bipartisan legislation to protect consumers from huge surprise medical bills after receiving treatment from out-of-network providers
- Extends a variety of expiring tax breaks, including lower excise taxes of crafter brewers and distillers. Renewable energy sources would see tax breaks extended, as would motorsport facilities, and people making charitable contributions. Business meals would be 100% deductible through 2022