President Donald Trump’s call on Tuesday for larger direct assistance controls to be included in COVID-19’s latest economic stimulus plan elicited responses from two members of The Squad, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib.
The House of Representatives and the United States Senate both passed the emergency bill on Monday night. Under the bill, direct payments of $ 600 could be sent to eligible Americans, an amount that some Democrats had derided as too small. On Tuesday, Trump threatened not to sign the bill.
“I’m asking Congress to change this bill and raise the ridiculously low $ 600 to $ 2,000 or $ 4,000 for a couple,” Trump said in a video posted on his Twitter feed.
Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib indicated that they were willing to accept Trump’s request.
“Let’s do it,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez. “@RashidaTlaib and I have already co-authored the $ 2000 COVID check amendment so it’s ready to go.”
“Glad to see the president’s willingness to support our legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “We can pass $ 2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to resign.”
“Me and @AOC have the amendment ready,” tweeted Tlaib. “Return the bill and we’ll put in the $ 2,000 we fought for that blocks your party.”
However, some observers have noted that the GOP was the party fighting for smaller direct payments.
“We’ve been trying to pull in $ 2,000 checks for months, but Republicans blocked it,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted Tuesday.
“Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we are happy to give more help that Americans need,” Schumer continued. “Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get the Republicans not to block it again.”
Newsweek reached out to the office of Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for comment.
Democrats and Republicans spent weeks negotiating the details of the emergency relief bill. In early December, McConnell indicated that direct payments would not be part of the bill. As Congress’ winter recess approached, both sides were able to compromise on a bill that, in its current form, is worth about $ 900 billion.
However, some lawmakers complained that they were not given enough time to study the bill, a 5,000-page document, before the vote was to take place. According to Trump, “no one in Congress” has read the text of the bill “because of its length and complexity.”
Trump noted a number of provisions in the bill that would provide funding for foreign entities and environmental projects. Trump asked Congress to cut the “wasteful and unnecessary items” from the legislation and “send me an appropriate bill, or the next administration will have to deliver a COVID aid package.”
“And maybe,” Trump added, “I will be that administration.”