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Trump Blasts COVID Relief Package; Calls For Higher Stimulus Payments

In a video posted on President Donald Trump’s Twitter account Tuesday (Dec. 22), Trump said the recently-passed stimulus act is a “disgrace,” as he wanted more money in direct payments for Americans.

“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said in the video.

The size of the direct payments were a sticking point, with lawmakers of both parties, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Josh Hawley, pushing for $1,200 payments, CNBC reported.

Trump urged lawmakers to make changes to that and other items in the bill, CNBC reported. The bill was, in part, a construct of a senior Trump administration official, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

In the Twitter video, Trump discusses what he said were the many flaws in the stimulus bill, critiquing the funding that would go overseas, which is part of a $1.4 trillion bill to keep the government funded. That bill was paired with the relief bill.

Trump is still expected to sign both bills and did not threaten to veto them, according to CNBC.

The stimulus package, finally passed this week after months of debating in Congress between leaders of the two parties, includes jobless benefits, more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and funds for schools and to help distribute vaccines, among numerous other items. Lawmakers were working fast on the bill so as to avoid the expiration of unemployment benefits, which would have left 12 million people without them right after Christmas. There was also urgency to keep an eviction moratorium from expiring.

The new relief bill has also come under fire from restaurant owners, who say the new PPP funding is inadequate to comprehensively help the industry. The Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) said the combination of the pandemic, various restrictions from local governments around the country, and the colder winter weather preventing most outside dining would inevitably lead to closures of more independent restaurants before the winter is over.

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