On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump released a video, slamming the “COVID-19 relief bill” that recently passed Congress. He complained, saying that the bill has more provisions on foreign aid than for actual pandemic relief.
In the video, President Trump called the bill “a disgrace”, saying that it mainly pushes forward an extreme left-wing agenda. He also noted that not everyone in Congress likely managed to examine the more than 5,000-page long bill due to its sheer length.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
He then pointed out that the bill contains more foreign aid, irrelevant to the coronavirus pandemic. To make a point, Trump enumerated some major provisions and fund allocations unrelated to COVID-19 relief.
In terms of foreign aid, the president mentioned:
- “$85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia”
- “$134 million to Burma”
- “$1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian Military Equipment.”
- “$25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan.”
- “$505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama”
The president also noted fund allocations for programs within the United States but are still unrelated to coronavirus Relief. These include:
- “$40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. which is not even open for business.”
- “$1 billion for Smithsonian and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art,” both of which are not open for business.
- “$7 million for reef fish management”
- “$25 million to combat of Asian carp”
- “$2.5 million to count the number of Amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico”
- “$3 million in poultry production technology”
- “$2 million to research the impact of downed trees”
- “$566 million for the construction projects of the FBI”
Call For Bigger Stimulus Checks
With regards to the COVID-19 relief-related parts of the bill, Trump decried the provisions that families of “illegal aliens” can receive up to $1,800. He described it as unjust, as it is far more than what Americans are given.
He emphasized that the $900-billion bill provides “hardworking taxpayers” a check worth only $600. Small businesses, Trump says, were also not given enough assistance, as they were only given “deductions” for two years. He says “two years is not acceptable; it’s not enough.”
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” the president mentioned in his video.
With this, he is asking Congress to provide more for the American people. He asks Congress to increase the amount on the stimulus checks — from $600 to $2,000. He also calls for the omission of the “wasteful and unnecessary” provisions that were included in the bill.
Lawmakers Also Criticize Relief Bill
President Trump is not the only one who decried the passing of this bill. Legislators from both parties have criticized how the bill was passed. Lawmakers say that, due to the sheer length of the bill, they had no time to substantially evaluate the legislation.
Republican Senator Mike Braun (Ind.) described it as “terrible,” pointing out that it essentially puts all the “responsibility in a few.”
On the other hand, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) says the bill was a product of “legislative malpractice.”
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (W.Va.) also expressed his frustrations with the negotiations. He said he blames “all of us for allowing all of this to happen.”