As congressional negotiators got close to a deal for a new temporary coronavirus stimulus package yesterday, Donald Trump wanted to do something that would definitely be good for Americans, for once: Instead of the bipartisan proposal's tiny $600 per person direct payments to most Americans, how about a much bigger check? The Washington Post reports that Trump floated the idea, as he likes to do, at the last minute in the negotiations, according to two people who heard Trump bloviating about it.

On a phone call Thursday afternoon, Trump told allies that he believes stimulus payments in the next relief package should be "at least" $1,200 per person and possibly as big as $2,000 per person, the officials said. [...]

Trump was in the middle of formally drafting his demand for the larger payments when White House officials told him that doing so could imperil delicate negotiations over the economic relief package, the officials said. Congressional Republicans have insisted that the relief bill remain less than $1 trillion, and it's currently designed to cost around $900 billion.

The Post then adds, for folks who might not be great at math, that "Larger stimulus checks could push the package's total over $1 trillion."

For perhaps the second time in Trump's presidency, we agree with him on a thing: Larger stimmy checks would be a very good thing! Except we think they'd be good for Americans who are struggling to get through this crisis, while it's pretty obvious Trump wanted to insist on bigger checks because wouldn't that be a last-gasp boost to his reputation?


Hey, you know what else would have been a good idea? The great dealmaker could have gotten behind an additional round of direct payments between March's CARES Act and now, and he could have put some real work into getting it passed. Instead, Trump spent the entire time blaming Democrats, who actually passed a follow-up stimmy bill, complete with $1,200 checks, in May.

The Post story points out that Trump appears to have briefly forgotten which party he actually belongs to. It's not necessarily the one that shows up at his rallies and cheers for every promise he makes, although we can see why he might be confused, since both groups of people are big on racism, and neither wears masks.

The White House divisions underscore the internal Republican tensions over the next relief package and likely the president's last major economic piece of legislation. [...]

Trump earlier this month publicly called for large stimulus payments, but he faced opposition from senior Republican lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) earlier this month released a plan that would have sent no additional stimulus checks. Mnuchin, the president's chief emissary to Capitol Hill, released a proposal last week calling for stimulus payments of $600 per person. Trump then appeared to rebuff his own treasury secretary on Thursday when he called for a much larger payment.

Sunday, on Fox News, Trump said again the stimmy checks should be bigger, although he conveniently pretended the idea would meet with opposition from exactly the wrong party:

Right now, I want to see checks – for more money than they're talking about – going to people. [...] I'm pushing it very hard, and to be honest with you, if the Democrats really wanted to do the deal, they'd do the deal.

Yep, there's a guy who was really fighting for more generous checks, all right.

The Post also mentions other times Trump has said that he sure would love to see Americans get more generous direct payments, and when he's said he knew "some" Republicans wouldn't go along with it but he was sure he could bring them around. But what the Post doesn't review is anything Donald Trump has ever done, even once, to actually push his party to pass a new stimulus package. That's because he's never really been serious about governing, and instead loves to spout ideas that might be nice but that he has no intention of working for. (See also protecting DACA kids, enacting slightly better background checks on guns, and for that matter, replacing Obamacare with anything. At least in that case we can thank him for his inaction.)

The interim stimmy package, with its $600 payments, is still looking like it's going to pass, possibly over the weekend or early next week. So get ready for a signing ceremony where Trump says he wanted bigger checks, but Nancy Pelosi stubbornly got in his way.

[WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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