Toomey urges Trump to sign coronavirus aid bill despite flaws, says he's 'not a fan' of direct payments
Toomey encourages Trump to sign coronavirus bill, in spite of flaws
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., on status of coronavirus relief bill.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., urged President Trump Wednesday to sign the $908 billion coronavirus relief bill into law, despite the legislation's flaws.
"We negotiated the bill, and the president’s people were intimately involved every step of the way," Toomey told "The Daily Briefing". "[Treasury] Secretary Steve Mnuchin was arguably one of the most involved people in this whole negotiation."
Trump had been expected to sign the package once it passed the Senate Monday night. However, the president blasted the bill on Tuesday, calling for Congress to increase the amount paid directly to Americans to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for couples.
Trump also took issue with several provisions tucked into the 5,593-page bill, part of an omnibus appropriations package that wraps 12 spending measures into one. However, the president did not specifically say that he would veto the legislation.
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"There are a lot of provisions I don’t like," Toomey said. "There are provisions that the Democrats don’t like. This is what we were able to get to, and my suggestion would be let’s pass this and get this signed, let's get this into law, and we can have an ongoing discussion about whether there should be additional direct payments or not."
The Pennsylvania Republican, who will not seek reelection in 2022, told host Dana Perino that he is "not a fan of these direct payments because the vast majority of the money inevitably goes to people who never had a loss of income."
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"Consider all the federal employees, millions of people across the country who never lost a dime of income," he said. "Why would we be sending them $600, much less 2,000? So, if we are not in the same place we were in last March – I was not riled up about the direct payments back in March – but in March, it was a fair question of whether we even had an economy, because governors were so overreacting in terms of shutdowns and doing so much damage, so that took really, really extraordinary and sort of global intervention.
"We are in a very different place in December where we have had a very strong recovery," Toomey added. "The unemployment rate is half of what it was [in April], and the problems are very acute in certain industries but they are not universal. So, the help should be targeted. This bill, for all its imperfections, that’s what it tries to do."
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