Trump urges Congress to amend ‘wasteful’ coronavirus aid bill

Donald Trump (file picture)

Reuters

US President Trump has urged Congress to amend a bumper coronavirus stimulus bill to increase stimulus payments to $ 2,000 (£1,500) per American.

In a video message posted on Twitter, he asked lawmakers to “remove wasteful and unnecessary items”, adding that the package “really is a disgrace”.

“It’s called the Covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid,” he said.

The $ 900bn bill includes one-off $ 600 payments to most Americans.

The Republican president, who leaves office next month, had been expected to sign the sprawling legislation into law following its passage through Congress on Monday night.

But in Tuesday night’s message from the White House, he baulked at spending in the bill on other countries, arguing that the money should go to struggling Americans.

He said: “Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it. It wasn’t their fault. It was China’s fault.

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

“I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a Covid relief package.”

Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating a coronavirus stimulus bill since July.

On Monday afternoon, congressional leaders unveiled the 5,593-page package and voted on it several hours later.

Several lawmakers protested that they had not been given an opportunity to read the contents.

Nevertheless the bill sailed through the House of Representatives by 359-53 and the Senate by 92-6.

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