President Trump slammed the recently passed $900 billion COVID-19 relief package as a “disgrace” on Tuesday evening, urging Congress to amend the bill and increase the amount of money in direct payments to Americans.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said in a video posted to Twitter.
Trump argued that the relief bill in its current form, which is included with $1.4 trillion in omnibus spending, has “almost nothing to do with COVID.”
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” Trump said.
He noted that small businesses, particularly restaurants, have not been given enough money after their owners have “suffered so grievously.”
“They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurant, for two years,” Trump added. “This two year period must be withdrawn, which will allow the owners to obtain financing and get their restaurants back in condition. Congress can terminate it at a much later date, but two years is not acceptable it’s not enough.”
The package includes increased jobless benefits, another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program for small business loans, a direct payment of $600 to individuals, and funds to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
The president warned that if the “wasteful and unnecessary items” are not removed from the legislation, the next administration will have to deliver a COVID-19 relief package.
“Maybe that administration will be me,” Trump added. “And we will get it done.”
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, responded to Trump’s request in a tweet, arguing that Democrats “spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it.”
“Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need,” Schumer added. “Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans “repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks,” and applauded the president for pushing for more money to be included in stimulus checks to the American people.
“At last the President has agreed to $2,000,” Pelosi wrote. “Let’s do it!”
Pelosi added that Democrats would be ready to bring an amendemnt to a vote this week by “unanimous consent.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, called the president’s announcement “great,” noting he introduced a bill for $2,000 stimulus checks with Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., seven months ago.
“Mr. President, get Mitch McConnell and your Republican friends to stop opposing it and we can provide working class Americans with $2,000.,” Sanders added. “Let’s do it.”
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Rashida Tlaib, D-MI, both issued tweets noting that the pair “already co-wrote the COVID amendment for $2,000 checks, so it’s ready to go.”
“Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “We can pass $2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to stand down.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not immediately return Fox News’ requests for comment. (By Lucas Manfredi | Fox News)