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AOC, Rashida Tlaib Say Legislation Is Ready After Trump, Pelosi Call for $2,000 Stimulus Check

Newsweek logo Newsweek 12/23/2020 Jeffery Martin

President Donald Trump's Tuesday call for larger direct assistance checks to be included in the latest COVID-19 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 U.S. Senate both passed the relief bill Monday night. The bill allowed for direct payments of $600 to be sent to eligible Americans, an amount some Democrats had derided as being too small. On Tuesday, Trump threatened not to sign the bill.

"I'm asking Congress to amend this bill and increase 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 they were ready to act on Trump's request.

"Let's do it," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "@RashidaTlaib and I already co-wrote the COVID amendment for $2,000 checks, so it's ready to go."

"Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation," Ocasio-Cortez continued. "We can pass $2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to stand down."

"Me and @AOC have the amendment ready," Tlaib tweeted. "Send the bill back, and we will put in the $2,000 we've been fighting for that your party has been blocking."

However, some observers have noted that the GOP was the side that contended for smaller direct payments.

"We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it," tweeted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Tuesday.

"Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we're glad to pass more aid Americans need," Schumer continued. "Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again."

Newsweek reached out to the office of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for comment.

Democrats and Republicans haggled for weeks over details of the relief bill. In early December, McConnell indicated that direct payments would not be part of the bill. As the Congressional winter recess approached, both sides were able to compromise on a bill that, in its current form, is worth approximately $900 billion.

However, some lawmakers complained that they were not given enough time to examine the bill, a document containing more than 5,000 pages, before the vote was set to be taken. According to Trump, "nobody in Congress has read" the text of the bill "because of its length and complexity."

Trump noted a number of provisions included in the bill that would provide foreign entities and environmental projects with funding. Trump asked Congress to strike the "wasteful and unnecessary items" from the legislation and "send me a suitable bill or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package."

"And maybe," Trump added, "that administration will be me."

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