BOSTON (CBS/AP) — President Donald Trump is threatening to torpedo Congress’ massive pandemic relief package in the midst of a raging pandemic and deep economic uncertainty. He’s suddenly demanding changes fellow Republicans have opposed, like a huge jump in the $600 payments planned for most Americans.
Trump assailed the bipartisan $900 billion package in a video he tweeted out Tuesday night, and suggested he may not sign it. He said the bill would deliver too much money to foreign countries, but not enough to Americans. The House and Senate cleared the package by lopsided votes, enough to override a veto should Trump decide to take that step.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 dollars to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said in the recorded message.
Many Democrats, including several in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, have jumped at the chance to boost stimulus checks.
“Let’s give Americans $2,000,” Sen. Ed Markey tweeted. Markey, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris introduced legislation for monthly $2,000 checks back in May.
Let’s give Americans $2,000. https://t.co/xwGsXkmAfM
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) December 23, 2020
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who will only refer to the president as the “occupant of the White House,” also expressed support for the policy “Progressives have been fighting for.”
“Honestly, whatever gets my constituents survival checks,” she tweeted. “People’s lives are at stake.”
Representatives Jim McGovern, Lori Trahan and Katherine Clark all retweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s message promising unanimous support from Democrats for $2,000 checks.
We want to deliver $2,000 checks. President Trump wants to deliver $2,000 checks. The American people NEED $2,000 checks.
— Congresswoman Lori Trahan (@RepLoriTrahan) December 23, 2020
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks,” Pelosi said. “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!”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)