KEY POINTS

  • Trump urged Congress to increase the amount of direct payments from $600 to $2,000
  • The president suggested he may not sign the current bill
  • Mnuchin said payments may be sent out next week

President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening slammed Congress for passing a “ridiculously low” coronavirus relief package and called on lawmakers to send him a bill with bigger direct payments for Americans. 

The president expressed dismay with the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, which provides $600 stimulus checks to individuals and $1,200 to couples, and also suggested he may not sign the bill until Congress removes “wasteful” items, including foreign aid and other government-funded programs. 

“A few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever. However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace. I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” Trump said. 

“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,” the president added. 

The relief package passed the House and Senate with a veto-proof majority. The House approved the package, 359 - 53, while the Senate passed the bill by a 92 - 6 vote. 

The 5,593-page bill includes a temporary $300 weekly unemployment benefit. The legislation will also send federal aid to hard-hit businesses, restaurants, theaters and schools. Lawmakers would also extend an eviction moratorium to keep tens of millions of people from losing their homes at the end of the year. 

The $900 billion legislation would also enable families to receive an additional $600 check per dependent child. In addition, the new bill would send stimulus checks to mixed-status households

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that Americans who qualify for direct payments would likely receive their checks next week. 

“The good news is this is a very, very fast way of getting money into the economy. Let me emphasize: People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week,” Mnuchin said.  US President Donald Trump called the bipartisan Covid stimulus package "a disgrace," and demanded that lawmakers increase the amount of relief payments to Americans US President Donald Trump called the bipartisan Covid stimulus package "a disgrace," and demanded that lawmakers increase the amount of relief payments to Americans Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON