23 Dec 2020: Trump criticizes COVID-19 relief bill; pushes for bigger stimulus checks
United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened not to sign an $892 billion COVID-19 relief bill, arguing that the amount in the stimulus checks should be increased.
The bill, which seeks to provide $600 stimulus checks to individuals, has become a subject of debate. While some say the bill includes desperately needed money for Americans, critics argue the amount is "ridiculously low."
Statement: 'Asked Congress to send me suitable bill'
Trump said he is asking Congress to "immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to 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," he added, continuing to suggest that he did not lose last month's Presidential election to Joe Biden.
Stimulus: Trump suggests raising stimulus amount from $600 to $2,000
On Monday, the US House of Representatives and the Senate had passed the legislation for $600 stimulus checks to individuals, which Trump said is "ridiculously low" and a "disgrace."
"The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated," Trump said.
Trump suggested increasing the amount in stimulus checks to $2,000 for individuals or $4,000 for couples.
Fact: Trump also objected to other measures
Trump also raised objections to the money provided for foreign countries, the Smithsonian Institution, and fish breeding, among other expenditure that is in the part of the legislation to fund the US government. However, he did not use the word "veto" in his statement.
Amendment: Getting bill amended in time will be challenging
A bill can be amended if the Congressional leadership agrees to do so. If not, Trump can either sign the bill, veto it, or do nothing and let it become law.
If the bill is amended, getting it cleared by December 28 will be challenging. The US government is currently operating on a temporary extension of funding that expires on December 28.
Fact: Raising stimulus amount would push bill's cost over $1 trillion
Trump's call for $2,000 direct payments would also raise the cost of the bill well over $1 trillion. This has presented an impedance to the bipartisan effort to provide some amount of help to the people whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.