US President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening rejected the $ 900 billion stimulus package adopted by Congress the day before after months of blockage, calling it a “shame” and calling for an increase in the number of checks sent to families.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $ 600 to $ 2,000 or $ 4,000 for a couple. I also ask Congress to get rid of unnecessary and costly elements of this law, ”he demanded in a video posted on Twitter.
Deemed essential to get the world’s largest economy back on track, the plan adopted by American parliamentarians on Monday evening to support households and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic cannot come into force without the President’s signature.
However, the latter suggests in the video that he is not ready to initial it without the requested changes.
The Republican billionaire is indeed asking that he be sent a “suitable” amended bill, otherwise it could be up to “the next administration” to adopt a stimulus plan.
“And this administration, it may be me,” slipped Mr. Trump, who still does not recognize his loss to Joe Biden on November 3.
“It’s really a shame,” he blurted out, while the White House was involved in negotiations on the text through Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“It’s called the COVID aid law, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” added the president, citing in a jumble the aid contained in the text for Cambodia or Burma and funding intended for the Egyptian army when the latter, he said, “will go and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment”.
House Speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi appeared to challenge the Republican president and his camp to follow through on the video call.
“Republicans have repeatedly refused to say how much the president wants for direct checks. Finally, the president agrees to $ 2,000 – Democrats are ready to bring that to the chamber this week unanimously. Let’s do it! ”She reacted in a tweet.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, for his part, deemed it necessary for the aid plan, even if it is “imperfect”, to enter into force. “The sooner the better,” he wrote on Twitter.
Biden will ask for another plan
It was Sunday, after months of blockade, that Democrats and Republicans announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on measures including in particular checks to the most vulnerable families, aid to small businesses and schools, additional unemployment benefits $ 300 per week or an envelope for the equitable distribution of vaccines against Covid-19.
The world’s largest economy fell into a deep recession in the spring, the worst since that of the 1930s, due to the shutdown of activity, intended to contain the new coronavirus and which caused massive unemployment.
The pandemic started again in the fall, putting a stop to job creation and the resumption of activity that began in the summer.
The first plan, for a gigantic amount of 2200 billion dollars, had been voted urgently at the end of March, during the first wave of the pandemic.
It included exceptional unemployment benefits of $ 600 per week and the sending of checks for $ 1,200 per adult.
US President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the $ 900 billion aid plan was “the first step,” but that it would not be enough, and announced that he would ask for it. next year for Congress to vote on a new plan to support the US economy.
“We have to work by involving both parties (Republican and Democrat). This is the only way we will get by, ”added the one who is a regular on the aisles of power in Washington after more than 35 years on the benches of the Senate and eight years as vice-president.
This report has been updated to include additional information.