Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Trump and the stimulus package.
Trump on asked Congress to amend the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill passed just one day before on Tuesday, describing the legislation as “a disgrace” and suggesting he would not immediately sign off on aid for millions of Americans. In a video posted to Twitter, Trump called on Congress to increase the “ridiculously low” $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 and outlined a list of provisions in the overall package of legislation that he described as “wasteful spending and much more.” He did not mention that the $600 stimulus check idea came from Steven Mnuchin who is his treasury secretary.
The implications for what happens next could be severe, if Trump refuses to sign the bill, the government will shut down on December 29th. The $900 billion in emergency economic aid will be frozen, and the race for the two Senate seats in Georgia could also be upended. Trump on Tuesday night asked Congress to amend the nearly $900 billion stimulus bill passed just one day before, describing the legislation as “a disgrace” and suggesting he would not immediately sign off on aid for millions of Americans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.CA.) quickly responded to the Twitter post by saying that congressional Democrats would move as soon as Thursday, when the House is scheduled to meet for a brief pro forma session, to advance the $2,000 stimulus checks.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D.NY.) has also tweeted that he supported the idea of larger stimulus checks, but he blamed Republicans for preventing them from being included in the bill.“We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it,” Schumer wrote. “Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need. Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again.”
Logistically, it could prove difficult for Democrats and Trump to amend the bill and approve $2,000 checks in the next few days, or even weeks. If Republican in the House opposed Pelosi’s effort on Thursday, it would not pass. Such a change would also require Senate Republicans to pass the measure unanimously, something that is unlikely to happen.
Several White House aides who spoke anonymously, described the chaotic and secretive process that unfolded Monday and Tuesday and, many of them were kept in the dark about Trump’s motives and the video. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, kept the video very closely held on Tuesday, with aides involved in the negotiations learning of it only an hour before it was posted. Even Trump’s legislative affairs office, which is responsible for dealing with Congress every day, was caught off guard.
The $600 direct payments added $167 billion to the $900 billion package, according to Ernie Tedeschi who is an economist and former Treasury Department official under the Obama administration. Tedeschi estimated that increasing the payments to $2,000 per adult would grow the cost of the bill by $370 billion. The 5,593 page package was introduced on Monday and passed the House and Senate late with broad bipartisan support, clearing the Senate by a 92-6 margin. Republicans had insisted on keeping the economic relief portion at less than $1 trillion, and larger checks would have pushed the final tally higher. Trump’s aides had made positive comments about the bill lawmakers passed with Trump staying out of the negotiations. Last week, he had complained to some aides that the $600 stimulus checks were too low and that he wanted them raised to $1,200 or $2,000, but aides convinced him not to intervene, saying it could scuttle the whole package and Now some aides were stunned that Trump weighed in the way he did after his economic team had publicly praised the bill. Administration officials had negotiated in the final days without explicitly securing Trump’s approval. He had largely been distracted with overturning the results of the presidential election. Trump had wanted to do more than $600 in checks and kept asking aides why they couldn’t agree to a bigger number, an official said.