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U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to block the $900 billion bailout approved by Congress and called for an increase in direct payments to taxpayers from $600 to $2,000.
Trump called the stimulus package an “embarrassment” in a video he shared on Twitter and said the $600 payments included in the bailout are “ridiculously low.”
“I call on Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 per couple; I also call on Congress to get rid of the unnecessary and wasteful points in this bill,” Trump said.
In the video, the president referred to the millions of dollars allocated to third countries, illegal immigrants, as well as museums and other organizations that are currently closed, which in his opinion is wrong, because other nations and groups of people are given priority over U.S. taxpayers.
Trump’s decision threatens to break a deal reached by Democrats and Republicans after months of arduous and complex negotiations that have derailed on several occasions.
In addition, Congress included the $900 billion bailout within the $2.3 trillion spending bill to fund the federal administration through September 2021, so its blockage could lead to an administrative shutdown starting next week.
After Monday’s approval of the bailout and the spending bill, Congresspeople left Washington and did not plan to return until the installation of the new legislature, next January 3rd.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in response to Trump’s request that Democrats are ready to return to Congress this week and approve the increase in direct payments.
“The Republicans repeatedly refused to say how much the president wanted for direct payments. In the end, the President agreed to $2,000. The Democrats are ready to take this to the floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it,” Pelosi said on Twitter.
In addition to direct payments, the bailout includes $300 a week in unemployment benefits, $325 billion in business aid (including $275 billion for payroll), $45 billion for public transportation systems, $82 billion for schools and billions in food stamps, renter assistance and vaccine distribution.