President Trump called on congressional Democrats Friday to send $300 billion in unspent coronavirus stimulus money to Americans in need, saying it’s better than giving “checks to illegal aliens.”
“We have $300 billion in an account that we didn’t use,” Mr. Trump said in a press briefing at the White House. “I would be willing to release it, subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money. It’s there. Just let that money be released to the American people.”
Negotiations on a new economic relief bill of more than $1 trillion have been stalled in Congress. And on Friday, the government reported that the unemployment rate plummeted to 8.4% in August from 10.2% a month earlier.
The president seemed to suggest that the leftover coronavirus aid from legislation approved in March would be sufficient instead, saying the $300 billion is “sitting in an account that we didn’t need because things are going so well with the economy.” His comments indicated that it could be used for direct payments similar to the $1,200 checks that were delivered to most taxpayers in the spring.
Mr. Trump also said he investigated whether he could spend the money without congressional approval, but said “I guess I’m not allowed to do that.”
“It would be a very appropriate thing to release that to the American people, and I am willing to do it,” Mr. Trump said. “All we need is a sign-off.”
He said it would avoid Democratic demands such as providing aid to illegal immigrants.
“We’re not going to give stimulus checks to illegal aliens,” he said. “They came into the country illegally, and now we give them a check? We want to give the checks to the American people. Just let that money get released to the American people.”
• Dave Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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