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NANCY Pelosi has reiterated her support for $2,000 stimulus checks after President Trump indicated he would veto the second stimulus package over its "disgraceful" $600 payouts.
It comes after months of negotiations in Congress between Democrats, who have long called for higher payouts, and Republicans, who wanted to see the size of the bill limited.
The two sides had agreed on a $908billion package, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had previously indicated that the bill would have the president's backing.
But in a speech last night, Trump called the bill "wasteful", saying it should include a round of $2,000 direct payments and challenging Congress to remove "unnecessary" funding.
He demanded Congress return to the drawing board and offer Americans relief payments of more than triple the "ridiculously low $600."
Following the comments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took to twitter to reiterate her support for higher payments.
"Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks," she wrote.
"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!"
Her Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,blasted Trump over the speech and said Democrats had offered the direct payments months ago.
"We spent months trying to secure $2K checks but Republicans blocked it. Trump needs to sign the bill to help people amd keep the government open and we're glad to pass more aid Americans need," Schumer said.
"Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again."
Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent figure on the left of the party, added on twitter: "Let’s do it.
"[Congresswoman] Rashida Tlaib and I already co-wrote the COVID amendment for $2,000 checks, so it’s ready to go.
"We can pass $2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to stand down."
President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants a third stimulus package soon as well, calling the $600 a "down-payment."
Although Trump did not specifically say he would veto the bill – which passed Monday in both the House and Senate – Trump said he would not accept the package.
"It really is a disgrace," he said in a video he tweeted.
"I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple.
"I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and just send me a suitable bill."
The second iteration of the Covid-19 stimulus package was part of a hard-fought effort from both parties that includes a $1.4trillion allocation to fund government agencies through September.
It also contains other end-of-session priorities, including providing funds for cash-strapped transit system, increasing food stamp benefits, and an additional $4billion to help other nations provide a Covid-19 vaccine to its citizenry.
It would provide $600 in direct payments to Americans, plus an additional $300 in pandemic unemployment assistance.
The bill was quickly approved in both the House and the Senate in a matter of hours, prompting many lawmakers to say they didn't have time to read the bill so they overwhelmingly supported it to provide assistance to their constituents.
The Senate voted in favor of the bill by a vote of 92-6 after the House pushed it through with a vote of 359-53.
Should Trump attempt to veto the bill, the votes would easily override a veto.
Facing the camera in front of a decorative fireplace setting complete with a wreath and garland, Trump placed blame on both parties in Congress, and urged lawmakers to get rid of unnecessary items in the bill so he could pass higher direct payments.
"Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked Covid relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left wing agenda and influence the election," he claimed.
"Then a few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people."
Trump slammed Congress for taking months to deliberate over the package and still returning with results he found to be ridiculous.
"It’s taken forever. However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace," Trump said of the bill.
"For example, among the more than 5,000 pages in this bill, which nobody in Congress has read because of its length and complexity, it’s called the Covid Relief Bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid."
The president then began running down the numbers of the bill, which he says provide relief for things that are unrelated to the effects of Covid-19 in the United States.
"This bill contains $85.5million for assistance to Cambodia, $134million to Burma, $1.3billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment," he listed.
He continued: "$25million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan, $505million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, $40million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, which is not even open for business."
"One billion for the Smithsonian and an additional $154million for the National Gallery of Art. Likewise, these facilities are essentially not open," Trump continued.
"Seven million for reef fish management, $25billion to combat Asian carp, $2.5million to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico."
"A provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatcheries, $3million in poultry production technology, $2million to research the impact of down trees, $566million for construction projects at the FBI," Trump added.
Trump continued to drag the bill through the mud for offering funds to undocumented individuals.
"The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $1,800 each. This is far more than the Americans are given," Trump continued.
"Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments and not enough money is given to small businesses," he said.
"And in particular, restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously. They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurant, for two years" the president continued.
"This two-year period must be withdrawn, which will allow the owners to obtain financing and get their restaurants back in condition," he urged.
"Congress can terminate it at a much later date, but two years is not acceptable. It’s not enough," Trump concluded.
"Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it," he said. "It wasn’t their fault, it was China’s fault. Not their fault."
Eventually, Trump said what he was asking of Congress.
"I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple," he finished.
"I’m 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, and maybe that administration will be me, and we will get it done," he ended.
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