US President Donald Trump has lashed out at lawmakers over the newly approved 900-billion-US-dollar Covid-19 relief package, threatening not to sign the bill if changes are not made to increase the amount of stimulus checks.
Noting that the negotiations have taken forever, the outgoing Republican president said on Tuesday in a video posted on Twitter that "the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated."
"It really is a disgrace," Trump said, arguing that the 5,000-plus-page bill contains many measures that almost have nothing to do with Covid-19, such as foreign assistance funds, funding for John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution, reports Xinhua.
The US House of Representatives and Senate both approved the relief package late Monday, along with 1.4 trillion dollars in government funding for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2021, sending the giant spending bill to the president to sign into law.
The 900-billion-dollar relief plan includes another round of direct payments for individuals, federal unemployment benefits -- both at reduced levels -- and more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to support small businesses. It also features hundreds of billions more for schools, testing, and the distribution of vaccines.
Accusing lawmakers of allowing "wasteful spending," the president said the amount of direct payments to individuals is too low, and not enough money is given to small business, in particular restaurants.
Trump said he wants Congress to increase the amount in the stimulus checks to 2,000 dollars for individuals or 4,000 dollars for couples, calling the 600 dollars for individuals "ridiculously low." According to the current bill, a family of four would receive up to 2,400 dollars.