After months of partisan bickering, lawmakers on Capitol Hill recently agreed to a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that would, in part, provide direct payments of $600 per adult.
The move itself sparked some controversy on both sides of the aisle, but President Donald Trump sent Washington, D.C., into an uproar after he condemned the plan in a statement this week.
“Money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests”
Even fellow Republicans are pushing back after he threatened to veto the package over the perceived inadequacy of the direct payments included therein, among other aspects.
In a tweet, the president took issue with the proposed sum, arguing: “Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!”
He echoed that sentiment in a video released on Tuesday night.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” he asserted.
“Get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items”
As a recommended remedy, Trump called on lawmakers “to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation.”
Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson dedicated a recent monologue to the ongoing debate, noting that the bill allocates large sums of taxpayer money to foreign aid as well domestic special interests including arts and humanities funding.
On the other hand, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is among the prominent members of the party who are condemning what they say are misleading comments by the president and other critics of the relief package.
“The president’s people were intimately involved”
In a Facebook post on Thursday, King wrote that “it was totally deceptive for the president to say that Congress failed to provide assistance to restaurants.”
Others, including Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA), contend that the president has no reason to complain about the outcome of the bill.
“We negotiated the bill, and the president’s people were intimately involved every step of the way,” he said. “[Treasury] Secretary Steve Mnuchin was arguably one of the most involved people in this whole negotiation.”