US President Trump has urged Congress to amend a $900bn (£670bn) coronavirus relief bill to more than triple its stimulus payments to Americans. In a video message posted on Twitter, he said the package “really is a disgrace”, full of “wasteful” items.
“It’s called the Covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid,” he said.
The $900bn bill includes one-off $600 payments to most Americans, but Mr Trump said the figure should be $2,000. His statement stunned Capitol Hill. Republicans and Democrats have been negotiating a coronavirus stimulus rescue package since July and Mr Trump – who has largely stayed out of the talks – had been expected to sign the legislation into law following its passage through Congress on Monday night.
The package of measures is linked to a bigger government spending bill, which includes foreign aid funding as well as a $1.4tn spending measure to fund federal agencies for the next nine months. Those agencies will have to shut if the president vetoes or refuses to sign it by midnight next Monday.
Most legislation that comes from Congress requires the approval of the president before becoming law. However, Mr Trump has not specifically said he would veto the bill. Even if he does, US media say there could be enough votes from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to override his veto.