President Donald Trump released a video from the White House Twitter account Tuesday evening. In the video, he called on Congress to strip out “wasteful, unnecessary” spending from the so-called COVID relief bill — especially the billions aimed at foreign governments. The president’s remarks imply he could veto the bill if his requests are not met.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
Americans deserve relief from the endless shutdowns imposed on us by governments, shuttering our businesses and shattering too many of our lives. We also deserve to be free and have our businesses open again.
But this bill went about relief all wrong. The majority of it was not about relief at all. In fact, so little relief was in the bill that it constituted an insult to suffering and struggling Americans.
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Congress packed the bill with hundreds of billions of dollars that do not deserve to be spent in the name of COVID relief, if they should be spent at all.
President Trump notes the bill’s many flaws in his veto message, starting with how the Democrats cynically politicized it.
“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left-wing agenda and influence the election,” the president said. As for the bill sent to his desk, “It really is a disgrace.”
Noting that the bill is more than 5,000 pages long, and that no one in Congress has had time to read it before voting on it, Trump said that “it has almost nothing to do with COVID.”
“This bill contains $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,” the president said.
“$25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan. $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.”
Shifting to the domestic side of the spending, Trump called out “$40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which is not even open for business. $1 billion for the Smithsonian,” which was first reported here at PJ Media, “and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art,” which he noted are also not open.
“The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens,” the president said, “allowing them to get up to $1,800 each. This is far more than the Americans are given.”
After cataloging yet more money tucked into the bill, Trump continued: “Despite all of this wasteful spending, and much more, the $900 billion package provides hard-working taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments. And not enough money is given to small businesses, and in particular restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously. They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurant, for two years. This two-year period must be withdrawn, which will allow owners to obtain financing and get their restaurants back in condition. Congress can terminate it at a much later date.”
He continued with indignation: “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.”
Trump called on Congress to act: “I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000, or $4000 for a couple. I am 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. Thank you very much.”