President Donald Trump finally signed the $2.3 trillion combined omnibus spending and COVID-19 relief bill late Sunday night, but he didn’t give up on getting bigger stimulus payments for Americans or getting rid of the hundreds of billions in pork that clutters the bill.
Trump invoked a little-known law known as the Impoundment Control Act (ICA) to send the signed bill back to Congress with “recissions,” which are requests to remove parts of the bill because they have negative impacts on the overall budget of the country.
“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” Trump said. “I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more.”
The 1974 law Trump invoked requires him to “send a special message to Congress identifying the amount of the proposed rescission; the reasons for it; and the budgetary, economic, and programmatic effects of the rescission,” according to the House Committee on the Budget website.
Will Congress act?
Once he sends the message, he can withhold funding for 45 legislative session days. Trump is hoping that within that time frame, Congress will amend the bill to remove the wasteful items and will increase stimulus payments to $2,000.
The House, which is Democrat-dominated, has already passed a bill to increase stimulus payments to the $2,000 Trump wants, but the Senate, which is Republican-dominated, has previously refused to consider even $1,200 payments.
It is unclear whether pressure from the president, the de facto leader of the Republican party, will be enough to bend them to his will in this instance.
In any case, Trump pointed to his administration’s accomplishments in overcoming the economic devastation of decisions to shut down states and businesses to “slow the spread” of the virus in March, and subsequently in some areas as cases have spiked.
Trump touts accomplishments
The passing of the CARES Act in March provided help to those out of work from shutdowns and helped keep the economy from crashing into a long-term depression, Trump said.
His Operation Warp Speed program has produced two vaccines that are now in distribution to high-risk populations in less than a year’s time, with more on the way.
Still, Trump is not resting on those accomplishments but continues to work for the American people’s benefit even with less than a month until his successor Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated.
“As President of the United States, it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China Virus,” Trump said in announcing that he had signed Congress’s bill. “I understand that many small businesses have been forced to close as a result of harsh actions by Democrat-run states. Many people are back to work, but my job is not done until everyone is back to work.”