Increase payments to the people, get rid of the “pork”. https://t.co/jq82qFIyUs
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2020
American government—such as it is—works in some pretty mysterious ways.
So mysterious, in fact, that it can be quite difficult to understand its complexities. And far too easy for misinformation to be disseminated through Facebook and Twitter. There have been many misunderstandings about the 5,000-page omnibus deal that includes COVID-19 relief, so I did some digging.
Most Americans know this much: there was talk of more financial relief over the summer. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate couldn’t agree on anything. Sometime around early autumn, the idea of more direct payments (like the $1,200 we received in April) had been taken off the table altogether. As Christmas approached, there were rumblings of an agreement on supplemental unemployment extensions, moratoriums on rent and mortgage payments—and, yes, $600 direct payments to individuals, and an additional $600 for dependents.
Now, of course, people on social media complained and created memes about how scurvy this offering was. It was undoubtedly a kick in the crotch from Congress, the very people who are charged with the welfare of its constituents, 13 million of whom are currently unemployed. However, there were a lot of people who were very happy to hear Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on December 21st being quoted as saying, “People are going to be seeing this money at the beginning of next week.”
The celebration was short-lived as lame-duck President Donald Trump took to Twitter to insist on more than tripling the direct payments and imploring Congress to rethink the amount of pork and foreign aid that was included in the omnibus package (which finally passed the House and Senate after months of bickering on both sides of the aisle).
Whether you want to believe Donald Trump looked up from his conspiracy-mongering for the first time in a month to altruistically get behind the working man—or, if, like myself, you see this a bit more cynically—the end result is the same: we will, once again, not be getting any help.
With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell being pitted against the President, with Democrats holding futile votes to accommodate Trump’s new demands and with Trump, in turn, holding onto the bill until it expires and essentially shutting down the government (all while playing golf at Mar-a-Lago), what you will get, instead, is political theater.
Right now, people need food, not theater.
Get more information and live updates on the status of the relief package here.