Trump Backs Down and Signs Smaller COVID Aid Bill, $600 Checks on the Way

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Donald Trump Signs The Pledge by Michael Vadon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

President Donald Trump has backed down on his threat to veto the COVID relief bill and signed it at the last minute.

Trump said the $900 billion bill is too full of unnecessary foreign aid, pork and Democratic policies and had demanded that checks be increased to $2,000 per person, but changed his mind at the last moment. The deal keeps the government running until the end of this coming September, boosts food stamps and will get $600 to every citizen.

President Trump Signs a Presidential Memorandum by The White House is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Why Did Trump Back Down?

The COVID relief bill had already been passed by the House and the Senate and Trump’s delay on signing caused a break in unemployment benefits and the chance of a government shutdown. It is likely that Republican leadership pressured the President to come around and convinced him that higher checks could be discussed later.

Now that the relief bill is law, the potential to send a higher amount of money will go to the House where the Democrats hold a majority. The problem is that even if the Democrats authorize a post-signing increase to the amount of the checks, the Republican-held Senate is very likely to not move forward on authorizing that.

At this point people can expect the $600 checks with at least a small – but unlikely – chance for a larger amount in the near future.

‘It’s Money We Don’t Have’

“It’s money we don’t have, we have to borrow to get and we can’t afford to pay back. Someone’s got to show me how we’re going to pay for it. How far before we all go into debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy?” said Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama.

Republican Representative Elise Stefanik disagrees with Stefanik saying that $2,000 checks should happen since “many Americans are in dire need of relief.”

Meanwhile Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao – who are worth over $34 million – secured a hefty loan of $417,000 through the CARES Act (intended for coronavirus relief) for Elaine’s family run company Foremost Maritime Inc. The Chao family has deep ties to Communist China.

McConnell said he “thanks” Trump for signing the bill into law and even though “the compromise bill is not perfect…it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now.”

Perhaps McConnell would also have preferred to get just $600 instead of a half a million dollar loan for his wife’s family company?

How Did Others React to the Relief Bill?

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted by hitting Trump for his delay causing fourteen million citizens to see a lapse in unemployment benefits over the weekend and said the new deal will help “the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”

Other Democrats were not so kind, with Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia saying Trump played “Russian Roulette with American lives” and Senator Bernie Sanders calling Trump “unbelievably cruel” for waffling on signing the bill which also had many measures to prevent evictions and other protections.

Senate leader Chuck Schumer said he will propose $2,000 checks in the Senate and watch Trump’s own party shoot itself in the foot by opposing it, which would be a big humiliation for the President, especially if higher checks are passed under incoming President-elect Joe Biden.

Congress is also likely to push aside Trump’s veto of the defense spending bill, handing him another loss.

Although many believe Trump is doing the best he can, his backing down on larger checks and getting rolled by Congress and the Democrats in this way must have him furious.