Democrats have rarely expressed any agreement with President Donald Trump throughout his first years in office, but this week marked a notable exception to the rule.
After lawmakers reached a bipartisan agreement on a second COVID-19 relief package including direct payments of $600 to individuals, Trump demanded an amendment providing $2,000 stimulus checks — and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signaled her support.
“It wasn’t their fault”
Following a failed motion by House Democrats to increase the size of the second round of direct payments, the president doubled down in a series of tweets demanding that legislators get the job done.
Congress came together earlier in the week on the nearly 6,000-page bill, leading Trump to speak out not only against the paltry amount of individual relief payments but also the high level of special-interest spending included in the bill.
Calling it a “disgrace” in a tweet on Christmas Eve, the president later doubled down on his call for Congress to quit playing political games and direct some real relief to the Americans struggling through the ongoing public health crisis.
“Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida,” he tweeted on Friday. “Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!”
Even as he spent the holiday in Florida, Congress sent him the proposal. As of the latest updates available, it remained unclear whether it was his intention to sign the bill into law.
“The best way out of this”
Politicians from both sides of the aisle have argued that Trump should sign the bill so that Americans have some short-term relief in the hopes that a broader compromise can be reached next year.
A number of prominent Republicans have joined the chorus of criticism against Trump’s opposition, including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).
In a statement imploring the president to sign the bill, he said: “The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill. And I still hope that’s what he decides.”
The Associated Press cited an anonymous source who claimed that some GOP lawmakers expressed frustration in a private call over the manner in which Trump shot down the proposal just hours after they passed it in both chambers of Congress.
In a vote set to take place on Monday, Pelosi has vowed to gauge support on a standalone bill that would raise the stimulus payments to $2,000 per individual, matching Trump’s suggested number.