The recent COVID relief bill, which Congress was supposed to vote on this week, negotiated an enormous amount of money for the military and corporations that were already rich. There were also so many extraneous details added on by specialized interest groups that the final bill was over 5,000 pages long.
Most shocking of all, after nine months of almost no governmental support, all citizens were offered in terms of relief money was…a $600 stimulus check. Better than nothing? Maybe, but in a way that is practically an insult.
In other developed countries, people have been receiving thousands a month since the pandemic began, while in the U.S., unemployment and evictions have skyrocketed.
Many progressives have protested that this amount is ridiculously low and have been campaigning for $2,000 to be sent out ASAP. And now, Donald Trump has thrown his hat into that ring, threatening to veto the relief bill unless those checks go out:
“I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple,” Trump said in a video he posted on Twitter. “I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill.”
Trump insinuates that he may veto the bill as it stands, though does not say he will do so explicitly.
“A few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people,” he says. “It’s taken forever. However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been Trump’s enemy throughout his presidency, but she appeared thrilled with the news on Twitter:
The issue, as CNN reports, is that if Trump doesn’t sign the bill, it could cause a government shutdown. Pelosi is now urging Trump to sign the bill and then allow for Congress to vote separately on the $2,000 payments.
If an additional bill came out as Pelosi is describing, any one vote could end it.
It’s a very interesting time when it’s not clear who to root for, but if all of Trump’s post-election tantrums are channeled into throwing money at Americans, that’s a great development.