What’s the story?
- President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted a video of remarks he delivered from the White House in which he called for Congress to increase the size of stimulus checks in the coronavirus relief bill and remove items from the FY2021 spending package that passed both chambers on Monday.
“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 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.”
- In his remarks, Trump listed numerous items that he believes to be extraneous in the omnibus appropriations portion of the package that will fund government agencies for FY2021. The bill provides $600 for every adult and child for individuals earning less than $75,000 per year, at which point the amount decreases until it phases out entirely for individuals earning over $99,000.
- The omnibus spending and coronavirus relief package was approved on veto-proof majorities in Congress yesterday, with votes of 327-85 and 359-53 in the House, and 92-6 in the Senate. Many lawmakers have since departed D.C., and aren't expected to return in 2020 unless needed to override a presidential veto.
- Trump stopped short of an outright veto threat in his remarks, but another lingering veto threat regarding the national defense authorization bill has lawmakers on call for potential override votes early next week.
- The bill is currently in the process of enrollment, meaning that legislative staffers in Congress are reading through the 5,593 page bill in search of drafting errors. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin led the White House’s negotiations on the package, and the White House had signaled its support for it.
- Lawmakers typically approve minor corrections in bills by unanimous consent, but the changes Trump has called for are substantial enough that both chambers would likely have to rewrite and vote on the package a second time if congressional leaders were inclined to do so.
- Because the bill is still in the enrollment process, it can’t be vetoed by the president yet. By law, the president has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to sign legislation that reaches his desk, and that clock won’t start until the bill is enrolled and formally sent to the White House. To prevent a pocket veto, in which the president would decline to sign the bill until the 117th Congress begins on January 3rd, the enrollment process would need to be completed by December 23rd.
- Given that the package cleared both chambers of Congress with more than enough support to override a presidential veto, lawmakers are unlikely to make the changes to the bill requested by Trump before the bill is officially sent to his desk and would more than likely return to D.C. for override votes if needed.
- The $1.4 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill for FY2021 Plus a $900 Billion COVID-19 Relief Package (H.R. 113)
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: @realDonaldTrump via Twitter / Screengrab)
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