Direct payments to citizens – US Congress argues again over Corona aid package


In the dispute over the gigantic aid package with a volume of around 900 billion dollars (740 billion euros), the fronts had recently shifted. Trump surprisingly rejected the bundle of measures negotiated in arduous months of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. He called the checks it envisaged for citizens of up to $ 600 “ridiculously” low and demanded an increase to $ 2,000.

This corresponds to the original demand of the opposition Democrats, which had been evaporated in the negotiations with the Republicans. Following Trump’s statement, the Democrats then returned to their original $ 2,000 demand and presented it to the House of Representatives on Thursday as an amendment to the Corona aid package. The Republicans rejected the proposal.

At Christmas, the Republicans had “cruelly withheld,” said Pelosi, the $ 2,000 checks that the president had voted for. If Trump is serious about the $ 2,000 direct payments, he must now put the parliamentarians of his own party under pressure.

Pelosi also announced that the bill on the corona aid package had meanwhile been sent to the president for signature. Trump has not yet formally vetoed the legal text as it has not yet been officially submitted to him. Should he carry out his threat and use his veto, this could be overruled with two-thirds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

For this to happen, the consensus between the parties on the package of measures, crumbled by the recent dispute over the amount of checks, would have to be restored. If Trump’s veto were crushed by Congress, the president could simply sit out the matter as a last resort – in other words, refrain from signing the law until he is replaced by his elected successor Joe Biden on January 20.

However, further delays in the implementation of the package of measures would have serious consequences. Around 14 million unemployed would lose the special aid they received due to the corona crisis immediately after Christmas. In addition, the Corona aid package is linked to a new budget law. If the budget does not come into force, there is a threat of a shutdown from Monday at midnight (local time) – that is, a shutdown of federal authorities.

The new aid program is intended to complement previous measures against the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. The US Congress had already launched a gigantic economic stimulus program in March. At $ 2.2 trillion, it was the largest aid package in US history. The funds were then topped up in April with another aid program.

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