After throwing a grenade that threatens to blow up a huge Covid government aid and funding bill and force a government shutdown amid a pandemic, Donald Trump was playing golf on Christmas for the second day in a row.
Failure to agree on the bill could deny checks to millions of Americans on the brink.
Trump had no events on his public schedule on the first day of his winter break Thursday, but he traveled to his Palm Beach golf club, where he was spotted on the links by CNN cameras.
Reporters were not given details of his schedule for the day, but said that, “As the holiday season approaches, President Trump will continue to work tirelessly for the American people. His schedule includes a lot of meetings and calls. “
Trump’s exit came as Washington was still reeling from his surprise, the 11-hour demand that a year-end spending bill that congressional leaders spent months negotiating give most Americans $ 2,000. in aid checks from Covid, far more than the $ 600 members of his own party had. I agree. The idea was quickly rejected by House Republicans during a rare Christmas Eve session, leaving the proposal in limbo.
The bipartisan compromise was deemed a closed deal and garnered broad approval in the House and Senate this week after the White House assured Republican leaders that Trump supported it. If Trump refuses to sign the agreement, which is attached to a $ 1.4 trillion government funding bill, it will force a shutdown of the federal government, as well as delay aid controls and halt unemployment benefits and eviction protections amid the most dire stretch of the pandemic.
It was an apparent act of antagonism toward Congressional Republicans by a president who has been furious over his November 3 defeat to President-elect Joe Biden and trying to devise new, increasingly scandalous schemes to try to overturn the results of a Democratic election. He has been prompted by allies like his attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who accompanied the president to Florida aboard Air Force One.
Trump’s ire has been focused, in part, on Republicans in Congress who he believes have not sufficiently supported his quest to delegitimize Biden’s victory by launching unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud before Congress meets to count the numbers. Electoral college votes on January 6.
Meanwhile, the nation continues to reel as the coronavirus spreads, with a record number of infections and hospitalizations and more than 327,000 deaths. And millions face the prospect of spending the holidays alone or struggling to make ends meet without adequate income, food or shelter thanks to the economic cost of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Democratic House, Nancy Pelosi, and the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, have been trying to save the year-end legislation to try to avoid a shutdown. Democrats will call House lawmakers to Washington for a vote Monday on Trump’s $ 2,000 proposal, though he would likely die in the Republican-controlled Senate. They are also considering a vote Monday on an interim measure to at least avoid a federal shutdown and keep the government running until Biden takes office on January 20.
In addition to the aid checks, the Covid bill that passed would establish a temporary supplemental unemployment benefit of $ 300 a week, provide a new round of subsidies for the hardest hit businesses, restaurants and theaters, and money for schools. , and would provide money for medical care. providers and to assist with the distribution of the Covid vaccine.
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