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Trump now threatening to block COVID relief over funds he asked for himself

Trump could stall a new spending bill — and the attached coronavirus relief package — over foreign aid money he himself asked for.

By Emily Singer - December 23, 2020
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Donald Trump

In his Tuesday night video announcing he is thinking of vetoing the government funding bill that included more than $900 billion in coronavirus relief, Donald Trump cited the bill’s inclusion of foreign aid to countries like Cambodia, Burma, and Egypt, among other countries as one of the reasons he opposes the legislation.

“It is called the Covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid,” Trump said in the video.

Of course, the reason the bill had funding for things other than coronavirus relief was because this was the government funding bill for the entire 2021 fiscal year. Lawmakers just tacked the coronavirus relief onto the bill. If Trump vetoes the legislation, the entire federal government would shut down when the current funding bill expires on Mondaay.

But even more absurd is that the foreign aid dollar figures Trump railed against were the exact same dollar figures Trump himself requested the countries receive in his 2021 budget request.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak compiled the list of complaints Trump laid out and matched them up with the dollar figures Trump asked for in his budget request. They are identical.

“Last night, Trump cited $154 [million] for the National Gallery of Art as a reason why the coronavirus bill is *wasteful,* although the $$ was included as annual gov’t funding. His [fiscal year 2021] budget literally requested $147 [million] for the National Gallery of Art, and millions more for its repair,” Politico’s Caitlin Emma reported.

In fact, some of the dollar figures he objected to were actually less than Trump requested in his budget.

Trump’s veto threat ultimately jeopardizes critical virus relief to families.

If Trump vetoes the bill, it could delay direct payments to Americans and cut off unemployment assistance to millions of people who have lost their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 12 million people currently receiving unemployment benefits could lose them at the end of this week if this bill is not signed into law.

Of course, it’s unclear whether Trump will veto the bill.

He’s made these sort of veto threats at least twice over his four-year tenure, only to back off at the last minute.

Yet threatening to veto critical legislation at the last minute is part of Trump’s quest to cause chaos in his final month in office. As his tenure draws to a close, he’s spent more time trying to find ways to overturn his landslide loss to President-elect Joe Biden then he is trying to fix the problems that have arisen due to his failed leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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