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Trump is calling on Congress to approve $ 2,000 incentive checks, hinting he may not sign the relief bill without changes

On December 22, President Trump called on Congress to amend the Coronavirus Relief Act to increase direct payments to individuals and other “wasted items.”

“ I also ask Congress to immediately get rid of the wasted and unnecessary elements of this legislation, and send me an appropriate bill, otherwise the next administration will have to provide a COVID-19 relief package, and maybe this administration will be me, ” Trump said.

The video fell like a sound barrier over Washington. Astonished his aides. Astonished Congressional aides. Stock market futures quickly tumbled amid the possibility that economic aid was in doubt.

The implications of what happens next can be severe. If he refuses to sign the bill, the government will close its doors on December 29. And 900 billion dollars in emergency economic aid will be frozen, and the race may be overturned for two Senate seats in Georgia.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat from California) quickly responded to the Twitter post by saying that Democrats in Congress will act as soon as Thursday, when the House of Representatives is scheduled to meet in a short initial session, to pay the $ 2,000 stimulus checks. .

“Republicans have repeatedly refused to specify how much the president wants for direct examination,” Posted on Twitter Tuesday evening after Trump’s message. “Finally, the president has approved $ 2,000 – the Democrats are ready to bring this to the ground this week with unanimous approval. Let’s do it!”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E.Schumer (DNY) also tweeted that he supported the idea of ​​greater incentive checks, but blamed Republicans for preventing them from being included in the bill.

“We spent months trying to secure $ 2000 checks but the Republicans blocked that.” Schumer Books. Trump needs to sign the bill to help the people and keep the government open, and we’re happy to pass more of the aid Americans need. Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and urge Republicans not to stop him again. “

But logistically, it could be difficult for Democrats and Trump to amend the law and approve $ 2,000 checks in the next few days or even weeks.

If any Republican in the House opposes Pelosi’s efforts on Thursday, he will not pass. Such a change would also require Senate Republicans to pass the measure unanimously, which is unlikely to happen.

Several White House aides spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the chaotic and covert operation that unfolded on Monday and Tuesday, when many of them remained aware of Trump’s motives and the video. Several said that Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, kept the video closely watched on Tuesday, as his aides involved in negotiations learned of it just an hour before it was released. They said that even Trump’s Legislative Affairs Bureau, which is responsible for dealing with Congress every day, was not aware of this.

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Direct payments of $ 600 added about $ 167 billion to the $ 900 billion package, according to Ernie Tedeschi, An economist and former Obama Treasury official. Tedeschi estimated that increasing the payments to $ 2,000 per adult would increase the cost of the bill by $ 370 billion.

The 5,593-page package was introduced Monday afternoon and passed through the House and Senate late with broad bipartisan support, resulting in the Senate being liquidated by a difference of 92 to 6. Republicans insisted on keeping the economic aid portion of less than a trillion dollars. Larger checks will raise the bottom line higher.

Trump aides made positive comments about the bill passed by lawmakers, but Trump has largely stayed out of negotiations. Last week, he complained to some of his aides that the $ 600 stimulus checks were too low and that he wanted to raise them to $ 1,200 or $ 2000, but his aides convinced him not to intervene, saying he could spoil the entire package.

Some aides were shocked that Trump weighed the way he did after his economic team publicly praised the bill.

But aides said administration officials negotiated in recent days without explicitly getting Trump’s approval. He was greatly distracted by the cancellation of the presidential election results.

An official said Trump had long wanted to check more than $ 600 and kept asking aides why they disagreed with more.

The video was released on Tuesday after a number of his aides, including Meadows, were already out of town.

“Very stupid,” said one management official. “So, so stupid.”

as such Corona Virus The pandemic began moving quickly across the United States in March, and Congress passed a $ 2.2 trillion relief bill to limit the economic impact. This bill included the first round of one-off stimulus payments, fixed at $ 1,200.

Several other measures of this law expired throughout the year, and the recent spike in the number of cases – and the end of the election campaign – sparked a bipartisan coalition to search for a new bill. The measure passed Monday night promised $ 900 billion in new aid, including $ 600 in stimulus checks, 11-week enhanced unemployment assistance, help for small businesses and a host of other measures.

Trump’s top economic advisers have not indicated that he is unhappy with the bill. In fact, they suggested that they agree to the method of bundling the bundle.

“I am pleased that Congress has approved, by an overwhelming majority of bipartisanship, significant additional economic assistance for American workers, families, and companies,” Mnuchin tweeted Seven hours before the Trump video was published.

Mnuchin spoke about the stimulus bill on Monday, and is serving as Trump’s principal negotiator with Congress on spending and economic matters.

“Mnuchin (your treasurer) is representing you during the extended negotiations over this billing package. We are a republic, not a monarchy,” retired Rep. Paul Mitchell of Michigan He wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening in a message addressed to Trump. Mitchell served as a Republican lawmaker before announcing that he was distancing himself from the party in part due to Trump’s erratic behavior since the election.

Aides told reporters throughout the day that Trump would sign the law, but later learned that he had recorded the video at least five hours before its release, officials said.

Not all aides were in favor of the measure, although some closely maintained their criticism.

Aides who disliked the bill used the fact that some unrelated spending items included foreign aid as a way to turn Trump against the measure, bearing in mind that US money going to other countries angered the president. There was also a backlash to the bill among conservatives on Twitter, something Trump tends to watch carefully.

Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) tweeted Tuesday night that Trump was “confusing” the government spending portion of the bill with the economic relief portion.

His team negotiated [sic] Bless this combination of the two! But since Twitter came out, it has erupted, ”Kinzinger wrote.

Almost all of the complaints Trump made in the four-minute video – including foreign aid agreements, assistance to the Kennedy Center, fish management language and more – are not part of the $ 900 billion coronavirus relief agreement, but are included in other negotiated sections. Separately from the legislation, including a $ 1.4 trillion pooled appropriation bill and a measure authorizing $ 9.9 billion in water projects. These bills and many others were grouped together.

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Two Congressional aides who participated in the negotiations said they were not aware of any problems the White House had with the bill. On Sunday, Meadows spokesman Ben Williamson said publicly before the law was passed that Trump supports the legislation and will sign it.

Trump’s refusal to publicly adopt the bill as it passed through Congress alarmed some of his aides, increasing the likelihood that he would eventually shoot again into the pool with a public announcement.

“This is what happens with a president who puts more confidence in the Conservative fever on Twitter than that of the Treasury secretary.” Brendan Buck, a senior aide to former House Speaker Paul de Ryan (Ryan), said, “Ryan and Buck often struggled with the president changing his mind.

Trump has also not shared the financial discipline that some of his aides, such as Director of Management and Budget Office Ross Vogt, have told advisors that making only $ 600 would not be “common,” in the words of a senior administration official.

The House and Senate passed the bill by margins so large that they could defeat the veto if Trump tries to block the measure. But this process may take weeks. Two aides said Trump may still sign the law, noting that he has not explicitly said he will veto it. Several advisers said whether he will go to Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday remains unclear, although he is on his schedule.

Even some of Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill tried to defend the economic relief bill Tuesday night, raising questions about who convinced the president to turn against him.

“The # COVID19 The package, while imperfect, will save jobs and lives, ”tweeted Senator Lindsay O. Graham (RS).“ The more the bill becomes law – the better. ”

Some White House officials were jostling late on Tuesday to determine who fell into Trump’s ear and helped make the video, as well as misinforming him about the bill.

Jeff Stein contributed to this report.

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