After days of drama, President Trump signed legislation he criticized last week, but not before getting pledges from Congressional leaders on problems he had with the bill. Congress will vote to amend the bill this week.
After disparaging an omnibus spending bill that included coronavirus relief last week, calling it a “disgrace”, President Trump signed the bill late Sunday evening after receiving assurances from Congressional leaders on votes on issues he prioritizes.
- Congress will be reconvening today to vote on overriding Trump’s veto on the National Defense Authorization Act, during which the House will take up legislation to increase coronavirus relief stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000.
- Axios reported President Trump changed his mind on the bill after cajoling from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who spearheaded negotiations for the White House, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
- In a signing statement, President Trump hailed the commitments he received from Congress, including Senate action on reforming or eliminating liability protections for online platforms like Facebook and Twitter, colloquially known as “Section 230.”
- As the President deliberated on whether to sign the bill, unemployment programs created by legislation passed this spring to soften the blow of the pandemic expired.
- Senator Pat Toomey warned efforts to increase stimulus payments to $2,000 is likely dead in the Senate, saying it’s “terribly untargeted”, and that “sending $2,000 to people with a six-figure income” makes no sense.
- On the House side, Democratic leaders are signaling they are unwilling to take up President Trump’s request for spending reductions.
- The President’s spending reduction demands focuses on foreign aid items his administration included in a budget request earlier this year.
- Newsweek took a different view on the likelihood of increased stimulus checks, saying bipartisan support is growing, despite solidified opposition in the Senate.
- CNN continued its characterization of President Trump as “erratic”, saying he is choosing “chaos” and his delay created “fresh turmoil into the final days of his tenure as president.”
- Huffington Post framed the story as President Trump having “folded” after the Senate GOP stood firm in their opposition to larger stimulus payments.
- According to unnamed White House officials in the Washington Post, Trump is lashing out and “wants to inflict as much pain on Congress as possible.”
- Fox News avoided colorful language and focused on the path forward for Congress in tackling President Trump’s wishes for amendments to the bill, and noting in a separate report those wishes face major obstacles.
- National Review noted Trump’s delay in signing and appeals to increase direct aid was seized upon by Democratic leaders who used the opportunity to bash Congressional Republicans as “insensitive to the plight of Americans struggling.”
- The Daily Caller portrayed Trump’s move as “backtracking”, and focused on the White House’s comments after signing the bill, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s praising the President.
© Dallas Gerber, 2020