Trump Rejects $900bn COVID-19 Relief Bill over Provisions to Egypt, Others

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday rejected the $900 billion (N349.2 trillion) Coronavirus (COVID-19) relief bill passed by Congress, describing it as a disgrace.

In a video message posted on Twitter, Trump alleged that the bill contained “wasteful and unnecessary items”, adding that there was almost nothing about COVID-19 in it.

According to him, the bill contains $85.5 million (N33 billion) for assistance to Cambodia and $134 million (N51,9 billion) to Burma.

The president stated that there was also a provision of $1.3 billion (N504 billion) for Egypt and the Egyptian military.

He said the Egyptian military would use the money to “buy almost exclusively”, military equipment from Russia.

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Trump added that $25 million (N9.7 billion) was provided for democracy and gender programmes in Pakistan, and $505 million (N195.9 billion) for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

He highlighted the other “unnecessary items” worth billions of dollars to include public facilities in the U.S. such as the National Gallery of Arts which he alleged were not open.

“The bill also allows stimulus checks for the family members of illegal aliens, allowing them to get up to $1,800 (N698,400) each. This is far more than the Americans are given.

“In spite of all these wasteful spending, and much more, the $900 billion package provides hard working taxpayers with only $600 (N232,800) each in relief package.

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“Not enough money is given to small businesses, and in particular restaurants whose owners have suffered so grievously.

“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists and special interests, while sending the barest minimum to the American people who need it,” he said.

Trump urged Congress to amend the bill and increase the “ridiculously low” $600 to $2,000 (N776,000) or $4,000 (N1.5 million) for couples.

He also asked the lawmakers to remove the “wasteful and unnecessary items” and send him a suitable bill.

The president said if they failed to do so, then Americans would have to wait for the next administration, which he said might be him, to give them COVID relief package.

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