House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to President Donald Trump's demand to increase the paltry $600 direct payments to $2,000 per American or he would refuse to sign their $900 billion pork-filled Covid-19 relief package.
If Trump signs the bill this week, some Americans may receive $6,000 for a family of three or $10,000 for a family of 5 in direct payments before Christmas.
The 5,593-page legislation was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for providing only $600 per American while giving billions of dollars to corporations, lobbyists and foreign entities (read the pdf here).
In a video statement on Tuesday evening, Trump called the Covid relief package a "disgrace", saying it contained tons of pork-barrel checks to corporations, lobbyists and foreign countries, while providing only $600 to Americans who have suffered through lockdowns and evictions.
"Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests, while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it," Trump said.
Some of the pork contained in the bill includes $453 million to Ukraine, $700 million to Sudan, $10 million to Pakistan for "gender programs", and tens of millions to the Smithsonian and Kennedy Arts Centers - neither of which are open to the public.
Pelosi called the $600 direct payments "significant", but she changed her tune when Trump called her out on Tuesday.
"Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000-Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let's do it!" Pelosi tweeted on Tuesday night.
"We spent months trying to secure $2,000 checks but Republicans blocked it," Schumer tweeted. "Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we're glad to pass more aid Americans need. Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again."
Neither Schumer or Pelosi admitted that Trump blocked their earlier proposals because of the massive payments to Democrat states that allowed rioters and looters to burn down their cities over the summer.