A bang from the White House: The US President refuses to sign the corona aid package approved by Congress, worth around $ 900 billion.
The incumbent US President Donald Trump has called for improvements to the Corona economic stimulus package, which was passed by a large majority by Congress. The bundle of measures is a “shame”, said Trump in a video message published on Tuesday evening on Twitter. Trump urged MPs and senators to make improvements and indicated that he would otherwise not sign the stimulus package with a volume of around 900 billion US dollars.
Specifically, Trump demanded that the one-time and direct aid payments to most citizens should be increased from $ 600 to $ 2,000. In addition, he demanded the deletion of what he saw as “wasteful and unnecessary” expenses that were contained in the more than 5000 page long legal text.
Very large majority in Congress
The compromise package, laboriously negotiated by both parties, is intended, among other things, to help citizens in financial need and the unemployed, provide impetus for the troubled economy and provide additional funds for the fight against the coronavirus and vaccinations. The package had been approved by Congress on Tuesday night with a very large majority. Trump had stayed out of the negotiations. If he should now actually use his veto, Congress could overrule him with a two-thirds majority.
Shortly before the end of his presidency, it would be the first time for Trump that Congress overrides his veto. Because of the Christmas holidays, it seemed uncertain whether the Congress would have enough time for it. The House of Representatives was re-elected on November 3rd, and about a third of the Senate seats were up for a vote. The Congress meets for a new legislative period at the beginning of January. It seems uncertain whether newly elected MPs and senators would also approve a package that was previously negotiated without them.
House Chairwoman Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter that the Democrats are ready to use a simplified parliamentary procedure to approve direct aid payments of $ 2,000. The Republicans in Congress, especially in the Senate, have repeatedly spoken out against a more generous stimulus package. It is therefore unlikely that they would agree to a higher payment.
“Maybe I’ll be the next government”
Trump was defeated in the presidential election to the Democrat Joe Biden, who will take office on January 20. He has not yet admitted his electoral defeat and speaks of “massive electoral fraud” – without providing any solid evidence.
In his video message, Trump said that if Congress did not send him a “suitable” bill, the stimulus package would have to be approved by the next administration. “And maybe I’ll be that government,” he said. However, Trump and his allies have already exhausted the legal process without success. According to many experts, there is no plausible and legal scenario in which Trump could ultimately remain president.
Biden has praised the new economic stimulus package and has already announced that he will seek further support measures from January. The current economic stimulus package includes additional financial aid for small and medium-sized businesses and a temporary increase in unemployment benefits of $ 300 per week. All citizens below an annual income limit should also receive a one-time direct aid payment of 600 dollars per person. Additional money for schools and for distributing the vaccines in the country is also planned.
Along with the stimulus package, a $ 1.4 trillion portion of the federal government budget was also approved. Trump should therefore actually sign the package within a week to avoid the government running out of money. Then a transitional financing with which the parliament wanted to avert a so-called shutdown, i.e. a partial standstill of government business, will expire.
In the spring, the US Congress had recently launched stimulus packages totaling around 2.7 trillion dollars, which corresponded to more than ten percent of annual economic output.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 18 million people have been shown to have been infected with the corona virus in the United States, a country with around 330 million inhabitants. Around 322,000 people have died in connection with Covid-19.