Donald Trump puts corona aid package into effect

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Before leaving: Donald Trump. Image: keystone

Analysis

The man who did not understand to the end how a president achieves political goals

At the last moment, Donald Trump decided on Sunday to put a corona aid package into effect that he had previously torpedoed on Twitter. The episode makes it clear that the 45th American President failed to reform the political establishment in Washington.

Renzo Ruf, Washington / CH Media

The redeeming message came shortly after 8 p.m. on Sunday evening, or a little less than 28 hours before the expiry of the last deadline: Donald Trump signed and approved the corona aid package in his pompous club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida thus the payment of more than 900 billion dollars to unemployed Americans and distressed industries, as the White House announced – although the president had called for a massive amendment to the law a few hours earlier.

The president also approved a number of spending resolutions so that the federal government can continue to operate until September 30th.

This means that on Tuesday night, as feared at the weekend, the offices in Washington will not be closed. And the Democrats and Republicans, who negotiated the $ 2,300 billion legislative package shortly before Christmas, felt a load off their hearts.

Trump sold this last-second buckling as a success. In a lengthy statement he wrote that the House and Senate would now vote in a next step on increasing the direct payments to all adult Americans from $ 600 each to $ 2,000 each.

Trump is calling for this increase despite the fact that his own Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted on $ 600 in the difficult negotiations with Parliament – against the opposition of the Democrats, for whom this was too little, and against the opposition of the Republicans, who believed the taxpayers doesn’t have to give every American a hand.

Trump also wants to force the national parliament to subsequently delete allegedly wasteful budget items. “Line by line” he wanted to get through the spending decisions and send them back to the House of Representatives and the Senate, wrote Trump. Although this is legally possible, if it is highly unusual, the budget is based on proposals from the White House.

It is about as unlikely that the House of Representatives and Senate will start investigations into fraud in the November election. Trump claimed in his statement that he had received corresponding commitments from the House of Representatives and the Senate. “The election fraud,” that is, the legitimate victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election, “must be eliminated!” Wrote the American president.

No majority in the House of Representatives and Senate

It is difficult to imagine that Trump can convince a sufficiently large number of MPs in both chambers of his ideas. Democrats have signaled an interest in higher direct payments during the corona crisis – but their main goal currently seems to be to expose the Republicans, as the decisive run-off elections for two seats in the Senate are due in early January in the state of Georgia.

The Republicans, in turn, understand Trump’s criticism of lavish spending. Even conservative parliamentarians find it questionable that the American government is transferring $ 134 million to the autocratic ruler of Myanmar, or spending $ 25 million to drive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. But the budget items are ultimately too small to paralyze parliamentary operations. Even Republicans are increasingly pissed off that Trump is constantly rioting.

And that is precisely the main mistake Trump made in his latest and arguably last power struggle with Congress. He mixed the unimportant with the important, forgetting that he no longer had any leverage – because, unlike most MPs, he would have to give up his office soon, on January 20th. The swamp of Washington, which Trump wanted to dry up, turned out to be stronger than the unorthodox president.

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