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Coronavirus aid at risk as U.S. lawmakers block Trump's changes


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Coronavirus aid at risk as U.S. lawmakers block Trump's changes

By Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan

 

2020-12-24T142338Z_4_LYNXMPEGBN0NG_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP.JPG

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., December 12, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Thursday blocked attempts to alter a $2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and government spending package, rejecting President Donald Trump's demand for extensive changes and leaving benefits for millions of Americans at risk.

 

Democrats in the House of Representatives sought to increase direct payments to Americans included in the bill from $600 to $2,000 per person as part of a coronavirus economic relief initiative, acting on one of Trump's requests. Trump's fellow Republicans, who oppose the higher amount, blocked that effort.

 

Republicans sought to change the amount of foreign aid included in the package, seeking to address another one of Trump's complaints. Democrats blocked that request. The House then adjourned for the day.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the chamber would hold a recorded vote on the stimulus-check increase on Monday.

 

The flurry of activity on the House floor did nothing to break a standoff that threatens desperately needed assistance for millions of Americans and raises the prospect of a partial government shutdown at a time when officials are trying to distribute two coronavirus vaccines.

 

Many Democrats say the $892 billion coronavirus aid package is not big enough to address a pandemic that has killed nearly 320,000 Americans, and they have welcomed Trump's call for larger stimulus checks.

 

"How ironic it would be to shut down the federal government at a time of pandemic crisis, the very time when government services are needed the most," House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said at a news conference.

 

Republicans opposed larger direct payments during negotiations as they sought to keep the overall price tag of the coronavirus aid below $1 trillion.

 

U.S. lawmakers on Thursday blocked attempts to alter a $2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and government spending package, rejecting President Donald Trump's demand for extensive changes and leaving benefits for millions of Americans at risk. This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.

 

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump was in Florida, where he was due to play golf on Thursday. The 5,500-page bill took months to negotiate and was supported by Trump's administration.

 

With the status quo unchanged, it was unclear whether Trump would sign the package into law or hold out for further action.

 

Without his signature, unemployment benefits for those thrown out of work by the pandemic are due to expire as soon as Saturday, and the U.S. government would be forced into a partial shutdown starting on Tuesday.

 

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday Democrats should be willing to address foreign aid and other elements of the bill that he has derided as wasteful spending. "House Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing," he wrote in a letter to other House Republicans.

 

Congress could keep operations running by passing a fourth stopgap funding bill before midnight on Monday. To successfully do that, lawmakers would need Trump's cooperation at a time when he is still consumed by his November loss to Democrat Joe Biden, who is set to take office on Jan. 20.

 

The stopgap bill would not include coronavirus aid, however.

 

The House will also on Monday try to override Trump's veto of an unrelated defense-policy bill.

 

Embittered by his defeat to Biden, Trump is pressing Congress to dramatically alter the coronavirus and government-spending package, which passed by wide, bipartisan margins on Monday.

 

Trump sparked a record 35-day government shutdown two years ago when he rejected a federal spending bill over what he said was insufficient funding for building a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

 

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; additional reporting by Brad Heath and Steve Holland; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Howard Goller)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-12-25
 
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Here you go: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-spending-stimulus-congress/2020/12/23/7a04ebd8-4549-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html   Trump rails against federal spending t

More on what Trump complained about vs what his budget actually asked for, from CNN:   "a closer inspection of them reveals the things Trump complained about track almost exactly with what t

Hold on a minute. I was told very clearly yesterday that the Republicans were the ones who wanted these foreign aid payments and the democrats did not. Seems that was false information? Maybe the post

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3 hours ago, TopDeadSenter said:

Hold on a minute. I was told very clearly yesterday that the Republicans were the ones who wanted these foreign aid payments and the democrats did not. Seems that was false information? Maybe the poster that wrote it can back up his assertion from yesterday without me reposting the post?

No. What you read is that the foreign policy portions of the bill came from the Trump administration. McCarthy is just gaslighting. Some people all too easily fall for it.

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1 minute ago, placeholder said:

No. What you read is that the foreign policy portions of the bill came from the Trump administration. McCarthy is just gaslighting. Some people all too easily fall for it.

Thank you, so as per the forum rules, please provide proof in the form of a credible link to prove your statement that "the foreign policy portions of the bill came from the Trump administration". As I said yesterday(before I was corrected without links or sources) that it is extremely unlikely that Trump wanted for example $10 million sent to the likes of Pakistani gender programs. 

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And further on this from CNN, to my not entire surprise, bearing out what I had speculated on above that Trump's foreign aid tantrum (railing against his own proposed budget) was the result of his getting riled up by right-wing media reporting:

 

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/23/politics/donald-trump-covid-relief-capitol-hill/index.html

 

"Most of the items the President listed off as problematic in his Tuesday night video weren't from the Covid relief piece of the package. They were from the omnibus. Most, if not all, of those items were similar to items in past spending packages the President has signed.
 
Most notably, two people involved with the matter say, the President is fired up about the foreign aid in the package. Again, that has been part of each spending package he's previously signed -- but Trump was riled up in part by commentators on conservative media who complained about the aid, according to people familiar."
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