In the midst of Christmas celebrations, the contentious battle over the terms of the next coronavirus relief bill continues to rage.
President Trump announced earlier this week that he’s unhappy with the meager $600 direct payments included in the bipartisan proposal, but top Senate Republican Roy Blunt (R-MO) said on Thursday that a proposal for larger $2,000 payments is likely to meet its end in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Amid veiled threats of a Trump veto of the larger $900 billion relief deal, Blunt cautioned Trump not to reject the bill — despite its inadequacies.
“There’s been some apparent misunderstanding about what’s in the regular appropriating bill and what’s in the COVID relief bill, and generally the regular appropriating bill includes things the administration asked for,” Blunt told reporters on Christmas Eve.
“It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think reopening that bill would be a mistake,” the high-ranking Senator added. “The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that’s what he decides.”
President Trump called the long-awaited relief deal a “disgrace” earlier this week due to billions of dollars in funds earmarked for causes unrelated to COVID-19 and the paltry $600 direct payments.
However, the GOP appears to be highly divided over a proposal that would increase those payments to $2,000, and when asked if the proposal would be likely to garner enough votes to pass through the Senate, Blunt replied: “It would not.”