President Trump’s request for Congress to change the $ 900 billion COVID-19 relief bill to increase direct payments to eligible Americans from $ 600 to $ 2,000 cannot be passed in the Senate, according to a leading Republican in the body – who said he remains hopeful that the commander in chief will sign the measure.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Warned that it would be “a mistake” not to sign the coronavirus relief bill.
“There has been some apparent misunderstanding about what is in the regular appropriation bill and what is in the COVID relief bill, and the regular appropriation bill generally includes things the government has asked for,” he said. number 4 of the Republican Senate.
“It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think it would be a mistake to reopen this project, ”he continued.
Asked what was the best way out of this political stalemate, the Republican legislator replied: “The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that is what he decides on.”
Blunt’s comments make him the most senior member of the Republican Party leadership in the Senate to respond, as President Trump called the bipartisan relief bill a “disgrace” on Tuesday night and asked Congress to stop it. change.
Blunt warned that the Republican Party would not budge if the Democratic-led House amended the bill to increase payment amounts.
“What if [Democrats did that], I would be surprised if we deal with it, ”said the Missouri senator.
Pressed on whether a $ 2,000 bill would be able to get the 60 votes needed to pass the upper house of Congress, Blunt said, “It wouldn’t be.”
The coronavirus relief bill, the subject of months of negotiations between party leaders and the White House, was packaged together with a $ 1.4 trillion measure to keep the government open until September.
The deadline to avoid a government shutdown is December 29.
But the extensive 5,585-page relief bill is still being prepared by Congress, where lawmakers have condemned the lack of time they have to evaluate the legislation.