House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged President Donald Trump to authorize $2,000 direct payments to Americans after he expressed his dissatisfaction with the bipartisan Covid-19 stimulus package that lawmakers approved late Monday.
“Mr. President, sign the bill to keep government open!” she wrote. “Urge McConnell and McCarthy to agree with the Democratic unanimous consent request for $2,000 direct payments! This can be done by noon on Christmas Eve!”
Mr. President, sign the bill to keep government open! Urge McConnell and McCarthy to agree with the Democratic unanimous consent request for $2,000 direct payments! This can be done by noon on Christmas Eve!
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
In its current form, the stimulus package provides for $600 direct payments to qualifying Americans and a $300 unemployment boost. That number is half what the CARES Act allotted.
“I am also 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,” Trump said in a video posted to his Twitter account yesterday. He then mused about a fantasy second term: “And maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
Last night, Pelosi called Trump’s bluff, as PoliticusUSA reported, telling the president that she supports increasing direct payments to $2,000.
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks,” she said last night. “At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!”
The timing of the president’s announcement comes at a delicate time for the Republican Party, which must now contend with the possibility of rewriting elements of the stimulus package ahead of the Georgia Senate runoff elections, which will determine which political party gets control of the upper chamber. Trump is raising fears once again among party insiders that his tendency to upend negotiations could cost his party the Senate majority.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.