Trump Again Signals Objections to Pandemic Aid Bill 

U.S. President Donald Trump indicated Saturday his continued objections to a pandemic relief and government funding package that he sharply criticized earlier this week.Trump tweeted early Saturday:I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars in “pork”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) President-elect Joe Biden leaves St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church, Dec. 26, 2020, in Greenville, Del.President-elect Joe Biden called on Trump to sign the bill.”This abdication of responsibility has devastating consequences. … This bill is critical. It needs to be signed into law now,” Biden, who is spending the holiday in his home state of Delaware, said in a statement.A partial federal government shutdown also would begin early Tuesday if Trump does not sign the bill. Congress is planning to return to work Monday, interrupting its usual Christmas recess, and could take up a stopgap measure to extend government funding for a few days or weeks while the impasse is resolved.Defense bill voteHouse members are also scheduled to vote Monday to override Trump’s veto of a $740 billion bill authorizing the country’s defense programs. If the House vote passes, the Senate could vote on the measure as early as Tuesday. It requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers to override a presidential veto.Trump has criticized the defense bill on several fronts, arguing without explanation that the bill benefits China, and has demanded the removal of language that allows for the renaming of military bases that honor Confederate leaders. He has also demanded the addition of a provision making it easier to sue social media companies over content posted by their users.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump’s veto “an act of staggering recklessness that harms our troops.”FILE – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during her weekly briefing, Dec. 4, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington.However, Pelosi has embraced Trump’s call for $2,000 direct payments to all Americans below a specified income level, and on Thursday used a maneuver to force Republicans to defy Trump by blocking the increase.Pelosi has announced plans to force another vote on the issue Monday. It is likely to be passed in the House, where Democrats have a majority, but unlikely to progress in the Republican-controlled Senate.The White House declined to share details of the president’s schedule during his Christmas holiday. It said only: “During the holiday season, President Trump will continue to work tirelessly for the American people. His schedule includes many meetings and calls.”Trump was photographed playing golf at his Florida course near Mar-a-Lago both Thursday and Friday. Reports said he was joined on the course Christmas Day by his close ally, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.