It was a clever move, but it didn’t work. House Republicans stopped Democrats from passing a bill that would provide $2,000 in stimulus checks to Americans suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This would have increased the total from the initial amount of $600.
Democrats offered the increase the day after President Trump published a video in which he criticized Congress over the $2.3 trillion stimulus bill, which was full of unnecessary foreign aid and other types of pork. During the video, he also urged Congress to increase the amount to $2,000 and get rid of the superfluous spending.
The Hill reported, “Democrats seized on the president’s words to try to put Republicans in a difficult spot, arguing they also preferred the higher payments.”
However, some Republicans in the House opposed the direct payments of $2,000, arguing that they are concerned about the deficit.
According to The Hill, “in response to Hoyer, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) sought to bring up a competing measure to revisit the portion of the appropriations legislation that relates to foreign aid. Trump also criticized those provisions, which were included after a negotiation with Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who signed off on the deal.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement criticizing House Republicans for shooting down the increase in stimulus payments. “To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need,” she said. “Hopefully by then the President will have already signed the bipartisan and bicameral legislation to keep the government open and to deliver coronavirus relief.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) penned a “Dear Colleague” letter on Wednesday slamming Democrats for pushing to keep the bacon in the stimulus bill. He wrote:
“House Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing. They have conveniently ignored the concerns expressed by the President, and shared by our constituents, that we ought to reexamine how our tax dollars are spent overseas while so many of our neighbors at home are struggling to make ends meet.”
He continued: “Thus, Republicans will offer a unanimous consent request to revisit the State and Foreign Operations title of the Omnibus so that we can fully address the concerns at hand. It will be up to Speaker Pelosi to decide if she wants to act on behalf of the American people.”
In response to the Republicans’ refusal to back the $2,000 increase, House Democrats rejected their push to reconsider the level of foreign aid that was included in the mammoth spending package.
The Washington Times noted that “the tit for tat in the House played out after President Trump threw into doubt the $2.3 trillion spending deal — comprising $1.4 trillion in regular federal government spending for 2021 and $900 billion in COVID-19 relief — that landed on his desk this week.”
The Democrats’ attempt to push through the bill was a clever political move. They are claiming that they are trying to cooperate with President Trump by pushing for the $2,000 amount he requested. However, they are ignoring his other demands regarding unnecessary spending, particularly when it comes to foreign aid.
Democratic politicians will surely use this tactic to their advantage. Their close friends and allies in the activist media are already going into spin mode, echoing Pelosi’s talking points and pretending that Republicans only rejected the bill because of the $2,000 increase when the real concern is the wasteful spending. If it were up to them, the boost in payments to Americans would pass along with every ounce of ham, sausage, and bacon that was initially included in the proposed legislation.
President Trump has not definitively stated that he will veto the spending package. However, he has not ruled it out. Both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate are working to potentially override his veto on the defense bill and the stimulus proposal. But it is not yet clear if they will have enough votes to subvert the president’s veto.
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