President Donald Trump has finally emerged from his consultations on the possibility of retaining the White House by declaring martial law to weigh in on the pandemic relief and appropriations bill that was passed by both houses of Congress and awaiting his signature to become law. Instead of speaking out before 510 members of Congress voted on the sprawling 5,593 page document, Trump waited until last night to post a video on his Twitter page in which he demands that the $600 stimulus checks in the bill be increased and pork removed.
In the video, Trump cited some of the very same foreign loans and pork items that have been savaged on social media over the past two days. (See Tweets below.) Trump finished up the video with this:
“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. Not their fault. I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 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 – and maybe that administration will be me. And we will get it done.”
During his first campaign for the Presidency, Trump sold himself as the great deal maker. Trump is now attempting to renegotiate a 5,593 page deal after 412 members of the House and 98 members of the Senate have already negotiated and voted on its terms. We’ll see how that works out.
While the $600 checks could be easily increased to $2,000 through a standalone measure, exorcising all of the intricate pork would be a far bigger hurdle. For example, thoroughbred racehorse owners who reside in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky might be unhappy with the removal of a special tax break for them that is buried in the bill. The tax provision permits racehorse owners to depreciate the value of qualifying racehorses. The C-suite might also be nonplussed with the removal of what is being called the 3-martini lunch tax provision. It increases from 50 percent to 100 percent the deduction of business-related meals.
Millions of Americans will remember this Christmas as the bleakest moment in their lives. They lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic; they can’t pay their rent or adequately feed their families. They are stressing out over the possibility of getting sick from the virus because their health insurance was attached to their job – both of which are now gone. The $600 weekly unemployment insurance supplement that was part of the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, lasted only four months and ended on July 31. Likewise, the one-time payment of $1200 under the CARES Act has long been exhausted by struggling families living in high-cost America.
The response to the worst pandemic since 1918 from the U.S. Congress stands in ugly contrast to what America’s neighbor to the north has done for workers and families. The Canadian government provided their workers that were impacted with layoffs or reduced hours because of the pandemic $2,000 per month for seven months, ending September 27. Canada’s more recent relief announcement includes $1200 in 2021 for each child under age six. Families with income of less than $120,000 per year will also receive four tax-free payments of $300 in 2021. Families earning more than $120,000 will receive four tax-free payments of $150.
Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress have been fighting since the CARES Act was passed in March and had failed, until now, to pass a new relief bill during that five-month span of growing hardship for American workers.
Below is a sampling of the outrage pulsating across social media platforms over the plan just passed by Congress: