President Trump on Friday urged Congress to approve stimulus checks to Americans by redirecting $300 billion in unused coronavirus pandemic relief funds.
Trump said at a White House press briefing that he considered redirecting the funds unilaterally, but prefers for Congress to approve the idea.
“We have $300 billion ready to go, all Congress has to do is say, ‘Use it.’ I’d like to use it without their permission but I guess I’m not allowed,” Trump said.
“We’re willing to spend it, I’d like to get approval from Congress. There’s a theory that I don’t have to do that, but I’d rather be up front and I’d like to get approval from Congress.”
Trump called on Democrats in Congress to issue a “one sentence approval” for him to redirect the funds.
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.
Trump did not identify the exact funding source, but apparently was referring to unused business loan money approved in March in the $2 trillion CARES Act.
Trump floated the idea amid gridlock on new COVID-19 relief legislation that would send another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans.
Both sides agree on more stimulus checks, but they disagree strongly on how much money state and local governments should receive.
Democrats and Republicans also disagree on how large a federal unemployment insurance supplement should be — leaving workers with nothing, though Trump last month signed an executive order allowing a $400 weekly boost if states chip in $100.
Republican leaders want to peg unemployment checks to 70 percent of pre-pandemic pay, but Democrats want to revive an expired $600-a-week boost that in some cases resulted in workers earning more than they did before COVID-19 left them jobless.
Other Trump executive orders last month resurrected a federal ban on evictions during the pandemic, proposed a temporary payroll tax cut and extended deferral of college loan payments.
New government job data released Friday showed the US economy added 1.4 million jobs last month in the latest sign that the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.
The jobless rate fell to 8.4 percent in August, down from 10.2 percent in July.
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