Updated Dec 23, 2020 - Health

Trump asks Congress to increase stimulus payments

A screenshot of President Trump speaking about the bill
A screenshot of President Trump making the announcement. Photo: President Trump/Twitter

President Trump indicated in a video Tuesday evening that he won't sign the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and $1.4 trillion government funding measure passed by Congress if it's not amended to increase stimulus payments.

Why it matters: The surprise announcement could delay desperately needed aid for millions of Americans if Trump decides not to sign the package as it stands. It also risks a government shutdown on Dec. 28.

  • Trump's Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was involved in negotiating the bill, said Monday that the $600 checks passed by Congress would go out next week.

What he's saying: Trump said he's asking Congress to send him an amended bill, calling on lawmakers to "increase the ridiculously low" amount Americans would receive for COVID relief to $2,000 per adult or $4,000 for a couple, and "get rid of wasteful and unnecessary items" in the spending bill.

  • Trump added that there's not enough money in the package for small businesses.
  • "It really is a disgrace," he said.

Between the lines: Many of the items Trump complained were excessive, such as foreign aid, were not related to COVID-19 because they formed part of the $1.4 trillion government funding bill — which was passed alongside the coronavirus relief package.

What they're saying: House Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to comments by saying they're ready to bring the measure to the floor by "unanimous consent" this week.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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