President Donald Trump has suggested that China is to blame for millions of Americans needing the long awaited second stimulus check in a tweet sent on Christmas Day.
Trump has called for the next payment to be increased from $600 to $2,000 as Republicans and Democrats both blocked each other’s attempts to amend the $900 billion package.
Trump has so far refused to sign off the bill that includes the stimulus payment, leaving millions of Americans in limbo as two expanded unemployment programs from the CARES Act expired on Saturday, December 26.
On Christmas Eve, House Republicans voted down proposals to increase the next round of payments, with Democrats blocking Republican attempts to cut foreign aid from the $1.4 trillion federal spending bill, both of which Trump has called for.
Legislators will meet on December 28 where a stopgap bill could be passed to prevent a partial government shutdown from taking place if an agreement on the government spending bill is not reached.
However, the bill will not include the coronavirus aid, meaning millions could still be waiting for it to be vetoed by the president. After the COVID-19 relief bill was passed following months of deadlocked negotiations, Trump shocked both parties after declaring “a disgrace” earlier this week.
In a December 25 tweet, Trump once again blamed China for the pandemic which caused millions of people to lose their jobs and face financial hardship over the past several months.
Trump also said he has been working on getting the next stimulus payments increased despite the GOP blocking such attempts.
“Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida,” Trump wrote. “Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!”
Trump has continually suggested China is to blame and should be held accountable for the pandemic which has killed more than 1.7 million people across the world, including 330,000 in the U.S.
Trump also attacked the media ahead of posting a video praising military and service members in another Christmas Day post.
“Going now to make a short speech to service members from all over the world. It is a celebration of Christmas. Video Conferenceâ€”Fake News not invited,” Trump tweeted.
In the message, Trump and the first lady “might look different than in years past” without mentioning the pandemic directly.
“We are forever indebted to those who courageously serve our country in uniform-and those who walk alongside them. We also thank our Nation’s first responders, law enforcement officers, and frontline medical professionals who work tirelessly to serve and protect our communities,” Trump added.
Elsewhere, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the Republicans who voted against the increase to the stimulus package while confirming a new vote will take place next week.
“If the President is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction,” Pelosi said.
“On Monday, I will bring the House back to session where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000. To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need.
“Hopefully by then the President will have already signed the bipartisan and bicameral legislation to keep government open and to deliver coronavirus relief.”