Christmas is coming, yet Congress just shortchanged the American people while giving the good presents away to those who don’t need it. Now is the time to take a stand for the American people and address the most important economic issues facing struggling Americans in need. Families need more than a $600 check to put themselves back on their feet and Congress needs to stop spending money on unnecessary programs that detract from direct aid to families.
This week, President Donald J. Trump stood up for the American people. He put out a video where he made the case that the Coronavirus Relief Bill was a “disgrace.” A video that serves as a veto threat if Congress does not make suggested changes to a bill they just passed. President Trump pointed out all the well-funded special interest projects in the bill and called for more direct aid to families. He said he wanted the bill amended and even though Congress says it can’t be done – it can.
The policy the president is pushing is a good one to address the rising economic uncertainty across the country with new restrictions to stem the further spread of the virus. Hardworking Americans are relying on Congress to provide another round of direct aid. Pollster Frank Luntz found that 75% of Americans want this second round of stimulus and they want the checks to be “prioritized” in the package. Republicans should roll in behind the president on his reasonable request to hike this responsible solution to the coronavirus economic crisis.
President Trump has demanded $2,000 in direct checks for families in need to be added to the relief package. He made the case that the massive bill that Congress recently passed and sent to the president has not enough help for struggling families. The president pointed out that the bill that also serves as the final appropriations bill of the year includes millions in foreign aid, yet not enough for domestic aid. The bill is approximately $900 billion with only $600 in relief payments and not enough for small businesses. President Trump has requested changes to the bill with the most important change being that the $600 in direct payments should be increased to $2,000.
The economic situation for average American families is dire, and the President is correct to focus on increasing aid directly to families. America is seeing record evictions and food lines during Christmas indicating that we are experiencing a crisis that is unprecedented in our lifetimes. President Trump understands the need for sending checks directly to American households. Time and again he showed as president that he would fight for those who Washington politicians typically ignore. This is one of those times. Republicans would be smart to call the Democrats bluff and make the requested changes to bill.
Some in Congress will rely on the procedural lack of understanding of the legislative rules of the House and Senate by those in the media to argue that it is impossible to change the bill once it is passed. This is a fallacy. As Sean Davis of the Federalist pointed out on Twitter, “Congress can use a concurrent resolution to re-enroll the bill with any changes. It’s akin to a post-passage/pre-enactment amendment that doesn’t technically reopen the bill.” Davis pointed out that this was done with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Reports indicate that the bill has yet to be transmitted to the President and it is possible for Congress to change via the enrollment with the requested change. It seems that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are pushing the idea of a new bill to be passed to hike the amount, but that is not necessary if Congress uses an enrollment resolution of the bill. In other words, this can get done if Congress wants to give more direct aid to families.
As long as the bill is still sitting in the hands of Congress and not delivered to the president, it can be changed. This will take some hard work with the House and Senate being called back into session for a Christmas vote. Many in Congress will complain about having to do their job on Christmas, yet this would be the best Christmas present the federal government could give to struggling families. This might be one of those rare times that Congress is actually responsive to the will of the American people.
Congress should agree to change the coronavirus relief package to reflect the demand of President Trump to increase aid to American families. It is the right thing to do in this time of great crisis.