President Trump is threatening to derail a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress on Monday after months of bitter negotiations.
In a video released on his Twitter feed Tuesday evening, Trump said he wants Congress to “send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package.”
Trump said the bill was a “disgrace” and called the payments of up to $600 to qualifying individuals in the current bill “ridiculously low.” He said he wants that boosted to $2,000 per individual and $4,000 for couples — despite the fact that it was Republicans who stood in the way of higher payments for months [Domenico Montanaro and Arnie Seipel, “Trump Slams Covid-19 Relief Bill, Asks for Changes After Bitter Negotiations,” NPR, 2020.12.22].
Gee, if Trump had spent more time pushing for that policy goal instead of his favored corporate caviar tax break, he might have gotten his party to agree to the larger stimulus/relief checks that Democrats wanted all along.
But hey, Dems are ready to play that ball. Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez say $2K? You betcha! And instead of just tweeting Archie Bunker armchair blurtage like Trump, they show us the actual legislative language they’re ready to enact:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer are having fun taking up Trump’s taking up of their call for more direct coronavirus relief. After all, Senators Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Kamala Harris proposed $2,000 coronavirus relief checks seven months ago. If Trump wants to go out endorsing radical (in a good way!) Democratic positions, bring it on!
But back in reality, Congress will pass the $600 checks and the whole rest of the bill that is intended to keep the government running, and Trump will go out looking all the more incompetent and destructive to everyone’s interests, including his own:
OF COURSE, Congress is not going to renegotiate this bill at this late hour, and the next administration will not be his.
HERE’S THE REALITY: TRUMP now has five days to sign the package Congress passed or else the government shuts down. Real-world stuff, guys. As we’ve written, Congress pushed through a seven-day stopgap as part of this package, and TRUMP has already signed that. Dec. 28 is the day by which he needs to make a decision — this coming Monday. Unemployment benefits end this week for many people. These are real-world deadlines that TRUMP needs to consider in the midst of a worsening pandemic as he relaxes at his Mar-a-Lago club over the Christmas holiday.
IT’S DIFFICULT to see why the White House thinks it’s helpful to TRUMP to look as if he has no sway with the legislature.
IF HE DOES VETO, can Congress come back and override it? Maybe — probably! So, again,it’s difficult to see why it’s helpful to have TRUMP choose to lose another fight with Congress.
IF TRUMP DOES VETO and Congress can’t override it, the Hill will just pass this again in January, and JOE BIDEN will get to take credit, and TRUMP will get none. 4D chess [Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, “Politico Playbook: You Thought It Would Be Quiet?” Politico, 2020.12.23].
Trump’s threat to veto this omnibus bill is no well-thought-out political gambit; it’s one last feeble cry for attention from a failed politician who has never met a real problem he could solve.