- The Washington Times - Friday, December 25, 2020

President Trump doubled down on his push for $2,000 stimulus payments Friday after a motion from House Democrats was rejected on Capitol Hill this week.

The $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, part of a $2.3 trillion spending package, is still in limbo after the president called it a “disgrace” earlier this week.

Without the bill being signed into law, unemployment benefits are set to expire on Saturday, the day after Christmas, and a government shutdown will trigger on Monday, barring any stopgap funding measure from Congress.

“Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida. Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!” Mr. Trump tweeted on Friday.

He said earlier this week he was frustrated with the level of foreign spending included in the bill and that stimulus checks were at $600 — half of the $1,200 he had endorsed in previous proposals.

Mr. Trump has not explicitly said he would veto the bill.

The last-minute twist made for unexpected bedfellows Thursday as Democrats joined Mr. Trump and attempted to pass a bill that ramped up the payments to $2,000 — but it was blocked by Republicans.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged the president to sign the package.

The deal was the product of a rapid flurry of negotiations breaking through months of partisan gridlock, but it also left lawmakers with very little time to review it before passing it.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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