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On Tuesday, Donald Trump urged Congress to amend the coronavirus relief bill to over triple its payments to Americans. In a video posted on Twitter, the US president said the bill is full of “wasteful” items and is a “disgrace”.
He claimed: “It’s called the Covid relief bill, but it has almost nothing to do with Covid.”
It came after Mr Biden praised the relief package on Twitter but admitted that more work needs to be done to tackle the pandemic.
He wrote: “I applaud this relief package, but our work is far from over. Starting in the new year, Congress will need to immediately get to work on support for our COVID-19 plan.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Desmond Lachman resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Mr Trump is probably right that the $600 (£445) payment is too low for people who really need it and that Congress might need a bigger stimulus package.
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The stimulus bill includes one-off $600 payments to most Americans, but President Trump called the figure “ridiculously low” and said it could be $2,000 (£1,482).
He added: “However, he is not telling us that the $2,000 payment that he is proposing would be as badly targeted as the current $600 payment in that it would be going not only to people in real need and to people who have lost their jobs but also to people earning six figure incomes and to people who did not lose their jobs.
“The package should have included a larger figure than the $600 but it should have been limited to people in real need so as to be very effective in stimulating demand without unduly adding to the debt burden.”
Writing in 19fortyfive, Mr Lachman said it would be a “mistake” for America to think the relief package will spare them from “tough economic times in the months immediately ahead”.
Although President Trump has called on the stimulus package to be changed, Mr Lachman explained how it is unlikely to be modified.
He told Express.co.uk: “In any event, the $600 figure was the result of a difficult compromise between Democrats and Republicans and the chances that the package will be modified are close to zero since they were approved by a veto proof Congress.”
With about a month away until Joe Biden’s inauguration, Mr Lachman said the next US president’s immediate economic challenge “will be to get the health crisis under control.”
On Tuesday, the US recorded 3,401 new deaths related to the coronavirus, the second-highest number reported in just one day according to Johns Hopkins University.
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The Covid Tracking Project also revealed that in nine states across America more people are currently hospitalised with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic.
Doctors in the country have said the deaths happening now are likely to be a result of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.
Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that Christmas could spark even more infections and deaths than Thanksgiving has done.
The infectious disease expert warned that travel over the festive holidays could cause “a very difficult January”.
He told CNN: “As you might imagine, it’s quite concerning to me. This type of travel is risky, particularly if people start congregating when they get to their destination in large crowds, in indoor settings.
“I’m afraid that if, in fact, we see this happen, we will have a surge that’s superimposed upon the difficult situation we are already in.”
Mr Lachman added that Mr Biden’s economic task “will not be easy” to deal with when he takes office next year.
He said Mr Biden is “likely to have to deal with the economic scarring that the crisis will have caused the US and global economies in the sense that we must expect a wave of corporate and household bankruptcies and defaults.”
America’s rising debt levels could cause a major headache for the country’s economic recovery, according to the expert.
He added: “[Biden’s] task will not be easy especially if he has to work with a Republican controlled Senate who have rediscovered their old religion in budget discipline and public debt control now that a Democratic president will be sitting in the White House.”
However, President Trump’s threats to refuse to sign the coronavirus relief package could cause some disruption to the process.
Mr Lachman said the president’s failure to sign the bill could delay the proposed very early distribution from the package by a week or two.
But as the bill was passed by a veto proof Congress, Mr Lachman added “it is very likely that his refusal to sign the current Bill would only delay the stimulus package for a very short time until another vote were taken”.
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