GOP REJECTS $2,000 DIRECT PAYMENTS

House Republicans shot down a Democratic bid on Thursday to pass President Donald Trump’s longshot, end-of-session demand for $2,000 direct payments to most Americans as he ponders whether to sign a long-overdue COVID-19 relief bill.

Instead, Thursday’s unusual 12-minute House session instead morphed into unconvincing theater in response to Trump’s veto musings about the package, which was negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Trump’s behalf.

If Trump were to follow through on his implied veto threat, delivered via video clip on Tuesday, the government would likely experience a brief, partial shutdown of the government starting on Dec. 29.The optics appear terrible for Republicans, who had lobbed praise at the hard-fought COVID-19 relief package, which passed on Monday by sweeping votes after the White House assured GOP leaders that Trump supported the bill.

Rather than take the victory of the sweeping aid package, among the biggest in history, Trump is lashing out at GOP leaders over the presidential election — for acknowledging Joe Biden as president-elect and rebuffing his campaign to dispute the Electoral College results when they are tallied in Congress on Jan. 6.

Even though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin represented the White House in negotiations, Trump assailed the bipartisan effort in a video he tweeted out Tuesday night, suggesting he may not sign the legislation.

Railing against a range of provisions in the broader government funding package, including foreign aid mainstays included each year, Trump called the bill a “disgrace.”

The final text of the more than 5,000-page bill was still being prepared by Congress and was not expected to be sent to the White House for Trump’s signature before Thursday or Friday, an aide said.

The House is already set to return Monday, and the Senate Tuesday, for a vote to override Trump’s veto of the must-pass defense bill.

Democrats announced they will force a roll call vote to pass Trump’s proposal for $2,000 checks, as well as a temporary government funding measure to avert a shutdown, Hoyer said Thursday.

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