Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had requested changes to the coronavirus stimulus package bill passed by Congress, raising questions about the future of the $ 900 billion package.
Trump’s stance could threaten to spoil the carefully crafted bill, which his administration helped negotiate, in a move that could lead to a government shutdown and push the economy into a state of collapse if it uses its veto power.
In a video posted on Twitter, Trump said, “I ask Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low amount from $ 600 to $ 2,000 or $ 4,000 per couple. I also ask Congress to immediately eliminate the extravagant and unnecessary elements of this legislation.” Or send me an appropriate bill. “
Trump’s surprise message came after he had largely left negotiations over the measure to lawmakers and Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin. Trump has not clearly threatened that he will veto the bill, but has said he is not satisfied with its final status.
“A few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgent aid for the American people. It took a long time. But, what they are planning now to send to my office is very different from what I expected. It’s really a disgrace,” Trump said in the video.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to have received Trump’s message positively, with a writer tweeting: “Republicans have repeatedly refused to specify how much the president wants for direct payments. Finally, the president has approved $ 2,000, and Democrats are willing to offer this with unanimous approval. Let’s do it! “.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote: “We are happy to pass more aid that Americans need,” but he also stressed that Trump “needs to sign the bill to help the people and keep the government open.”
For now, some in Congress hope Trump will not veto the bill, as he has not clearly said he will.
On Thursday, House Democrats will try to pass a bill to increase direct payments by consensus, although any member could derail the effort. It is unclear what would happen if such a law was banned.
It is reported that government funding will run out next Monday.
Trump’s statement was filmed by the White House and was not open to the press, so journalists did not have the opportunity to ask questions of the president, and it is unclear when the message was recorded.