Govs. Hogan, Whitmer say Trump should sign relief bill, then seek $2,000 checks

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Two governors said Sunday it’s fine if President Trump wants bigger stimulus checks for Americans, but he must sign a $2 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding package and then fight for the extra cash.

“Sign the bill, get it done. And then if the president wants to get more, let’s get that done, too,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The president needs to sign it.”

Congress on Thursday sent the massive bill to the president in Florida, where he is spending the holidays.

But Mr. Trump wants lawmakers to increase direct payments to individuals in the bill from $600 to $2,000. The president also said Congress should eliminate billions of dollars of “pork” in the measure, though he has stopped short of threatening to veto it, leaving the nation in limbo.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who spars frequently with Mr. Trump, said the president should sign off on the agreement.

Congressional Democrats say they’re on board with bigger checks, so Mr. Trump “should get back to Washington and get that piece done as well,” Ms. Whitmer said.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, said the nation has been “put in a lurch” after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin negotiated $600 checks, only for the president to demand more after the fact.

“This was the agreed-upon number. It’s what the president negotiated,” Mr. Kinzinger told CNN. “To play this switcheroo game … I don’t get the point.”

Rep.-elect Jamaal Bowman, New York Democrat, said Mr. Trump is “posturing to bring himself back as the hero of the American people, asking for $2,000” after his defeat.

“He’s a privileged person who rose to power as a reality TV star and now he’s trying to drive this country into chaos,” Mr. Bowman told CNN.

Mr. Trump has spent the Christmas holiday shuttling between his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and his golf property a few miles inland. He returned there Sunday morning as governors and lawmakers accused him of idling.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden says Mr. Trump is guilty of an “abdication of responsibility” for sitting on the bill.

The Democrat says Mr. Trump is putting the U.S. at risk of a government shutdown while forcing Americans to worry about expiring eviction protections and unemployment benefits. 

He also says businesses might not survive the winter without the extra help.

Dave Boyer contributed to this report.

 

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