President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening said he would not sign the $900 billion COVID relief package that passed both chambers of Congress on Monday. Instead, he wants them to up the direct cash payment amount that Americans will receive and to cut out the unnecessary spending.
"Throughout the summer Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme left-wing agenda and influence the election," Trump said, referencing the more than 40 times Republicans attempted to pass a relief package.
According to the president, Congress began negotiating a relief package that has taken "forever." The bill that passed both chambers of Congress, Trump says, "is much different than anticipated. It really is a disagree."
Trump referenced the bill, which is more than 5,000 pages in length, that members of Congress failed to read before passing.
"It's called the COVID relief bill but it has almost nothing to do with COVID," he explained in his address. "This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia; $134 million to Burma; $1.3 billion for Egypt and Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment; $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan; $505 million to Beliza, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; $40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which is not even open for business; $1 billion for the Smithsonian and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art; ... $7 million for reef fish management; $25 million to combat Asian carpe; $2.5 million to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico, a provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatcheries; $3 million in poultry production technology; $2 million to study the impact of downed trees; $566 million for construction projects at the FBI."
Trump also took issue with a measure in the bill that allows illegal aliens to receive up to $1,800 in stimulus checks, a combo of the first and second relief bills.
"Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief pay," the president explained.
Trump knocked the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, saying not enough money is being allocated to small businesses. He referenced the restaurant industry, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and government-ordered lockdowns.
"Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it," he explained. "It wasn't their fault. It was China's fault."
The president is kicking back the bill to Congress and asking them to amend "the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000 or $4,000 for a couple." He's also asking Congress to get rid of the pork that's found in the bill.