On December 21, waiting to the eleventh hour, Senate Republicans finally dropped their blockade of a COVID-19 economic relief bill and tied it to the omnibus appropriations bill to keep the government open after today, in order to pick up Republican votes.
In 2016, Donald Trump defrauded voters by saying he would “negotiate the best deals.” In four years, he never negotiated a deal. leaving it to others in his administration to do the heavy lifting.
The bill Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Republicans agreed to was far too little and too late to be of much help to desperate Americans facing long-term unemployment, food insecurity, and eviction at the end of this month. Still, it s better than nothing.
Only after the bill had been agreed to by all parties, Donald Trump decided to throw a temper tantrum to get attention. He filmed a video in the White House attacking the bargain negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Republicans, calling the bill a “disgrace.” Trump rails against federal spending that he requested in his budget:
President Trump railed against the federal spending in the sweeping coronavirus relief package, arguing Congress was prioritizing foreign aid and funds for other programs over sending more generous direct payments to struggling Americans.
But the list Trump rattled off during a surprise video announcement Tuesday night conflated the coronavirus stimulus measure with the year-end federal government omnibus spending bill passed in tandem by the Senate.
Moreover, much of the spending allocations Trump criticized were the exact amounts he requested for those programs in his fiscal 2021 budget.
In most cases, the programs the president cited had the support of key Republicans in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.).
Trump wanted to play Santa Claus at the last minute, demanding direct payments to Americans in the amount of $2000, far more than the measly $600 negotiated and agreed to by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Senate Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s bluff, scheduling a unanimous consent vote on Christmas Eve to increase the direct payments to $2000. Naturally, House Republicans who did not want to give Americans any money, would not consent, and objected, on Christmas Eve no less. By doing so, Republicans opposed the demand of their own president. Trump’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks is blocked by his own party.
With a standoff, Trump left for Mar-a-Lago for the holidays to play endless rounds of golf and use “executive time” to tweet insane conspiracy theories that he actually won the election. While Trump dithered playing golf, many believed he would simply “pocket veto” the bill, by taking his full ten days to decide — which falls after the current Congress expires on January 3 — forcing the new Congress to start anew from scratch. One way Trump could block the stimulus bill: A pocket veto.
Trump was focused on playing golf, indifferent to extended unemployment benefits expiring on Saturday. Because Trump did not sign the bill on Saturday, those in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of the year. And the $300 federal enhancement may only last 10 weeks instead of 11 weeks for most folks. The lapse in the programs may cause further delayed payments as state unemployment offices reprogram their computers.
Americans were pissed, and were calling Trump’s private Florida club to tell him to stop golfing and get to work on the pandemic stimulus bill. Americans Are Calling Mar-a-Lago To Tell Trump To Stop Golfing And Work On Stimulus Bill. A bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers of Congress on Sunday reissued their call for President Trump to sign a nearly $1 trillion COVID-19 relief package – or to immediately veto it, so Congress could have the opportunity to override his veto (avoiding the pocket veto scenario). Bipartisan lawmakers urge Trump to either sign or immediately veto coronavirus relief bill.
In the face of widespread public opposition and bad optics, Tyrant Trump ended his temper tantrum and agreed to sign the bill on Sunday night. Trump To Sign Pandemic Stimulus As He Makes Insane Demands That Will Never Happen:
Trump said that he will be signing the pandemic relief bill, and then he uncorked a list of insane demands that won’t happen.
Trump said in a statement, in part, from the White House:
As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child.
As President I am demanding many rescissions under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. The Act provides that, “whenever the President determines that all or part of any budget authority will not be required to carry out the full objectives or scope of programs for which it is provided, or that such budget authority should be rescinded for fiscal policy or other reasons (including termination of authorized projects or activities for which budget authority has been provided), the President shall transmit to both Houses of Congress a special message” describing the amount to be reserved, the relevant accounts, the reasons for the rescission, and the economic effects of the rescission. 2 U.S.C. § 683.
I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.
I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more.
On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200. Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed.
Likewise, the House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election.
The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.
Big Tech must not get protections of Section 230!
Voter Fraud must be fixed!
Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!
The important part here is that Trump will sign the pandemic relief bill.
Neither the House nor the Senate has agreed to make investigating voter fraud a priority. Trump’s demand that Section 230 of the NDAA be removed is also never going to happen. Presidents don’t have a line-item veto, so Trump can redline the bill all that he wants, but it means nothing. Once he signs it, it becomes law.
Trump wants credit for a bill that he had nothing to do with, and he is trying to gin up more attention for himself as someone clearly feels needy now that he has been bumped off of the political stage and is facing political irrelevance in a few weeks.
POLITICO’s Playbook adds:
THAT’S IT? President DONALD TRUMP made all this noise about the Covid relief and government funding bill only to sign it and get nothing in return?
TRUMP got taken to the cleaners.
WHAT A BIZARRE, embarrassing episode for the president. He opposed a bill his administration negotiated. He had no discernible strategy and no hand to play — and it showed. He folded, and got nothing besides a few days of attention and chaos. People waiting for aid got a few days of frightening uncertainty.
ZIP. ZERO. ZILCH. If he was going to give up this easy, he should’ve just kept quiet and signed the bill. It would’ve been less embarrassing.
IN A STATEMENT, TRUMP said Congress will review Section 230, the statute governing social media companies? Pretty sure they’ve been reviewing it for a while. A “redlined” bill? Huh? He’ll never get the spending rescissions he’s asking for — like, zero chance, so don’t focus on this. They will review voter fraud? Sure thing, boss. And the Senate will begin the process of voting on $2,000 checks? Great. He will split the Republican Party on the way out the door. (Will it get 60 votes? Will senators even show up for this?) In his Sunday evening statement, Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL didn’t even mention anything that TRUMP got in return for signing this bill.
THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST FITTING coda to TRUMP’S presidency, and a neat encapsulation of his relationship with Congress. He never cared to understand the place and was disengaged from its work.
THEY’LL BE LAUGHING — er, scratching their heads — at your genius about this one for a while, Mr. President.
ALSO TODAY: The House will vote on increasing the direct checks to $2,000 under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote to amend the bill Trump signed. House Republicans are opposes to the $2000 payment. House to vote on $2,000 stimulus checks after Trump signs Covid relief and funding bill:
In a statement Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on Trump to put more pressure on his party to back the payments during Monday’s vote.
“Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need,” she said.
In his own statement Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he is “glad the American people will receive this much-needed assistance as our nation continues battling this pandemic.” However, he did not mention any plans for bringing up the $2,000 payment bill if the House passes it.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that he would try to pass the legislation in the Senate.
“No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?” he tweeted.
It is unlikely Republicans will provide enough votes to get to the two-thirds vote necessary to pass the $2000 payment in the House or the Senate, in a direct rebuke to President Trump.
The House will also vote on overriding the president’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate does not return until Tuesday. It would be the first override of a Trump veto.
Republicans are going to have to take a recorded vote on these measures, exposing them to attacks from Trump and the public.
UPDATE: “Treasury rushes to begin sending stimulus checks by week’s end”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/28/stimulus-check-trump-money/
The Trump administration is scrambling to send one-time stimulus payments to millions of Americans starting as soon as this week … The schedule corresponds with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s earlier promise to dispatch stimulus checks to families this week — a plan later thrown into turmoil after Trump initially refused to sign the stimulus package.
The Treasury Department is able to move more swiftly than usual to deposit checks for as much as $600 into Americans’ bank accounts as a result of its earlier work this spring, when it disbursed larger sums under an earlier stimulus program.
The electronic deposits could go out Wednesday and Thursday in large tranches, according to a senior official at the Internal Revenue Service, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the agency’s early plans. It remains unclear, however, whether other obstacles might result in delays — particularly given the holiday week and its impact on staffing at major banks.