House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats of “selective hearing” Wednesday night – after President Trump called for Congress to raise coronavirus stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.
“They’ve conveniently ignored @realDonaldTrump’s call to reexamine tax dollars wasted overseas while so many Americans are struggling at home,” McCarthy wrote in a Twitter message. “Republicans will act to put America first.”
In an accompanying letter to his fellow Republicans, McCarthy asserted that Republicans had tried to pass a stimulus bill more than 40 times but were unsuccessful until this week because Pelosi “tried to use the American people as leverage to make coronavirus relief contingent on government funding – which includes billions of foreign aid [dollars] at a time when there are urgent needs at home.”
The minority leader wrote that Republicans should follow Trump’s lead and “reexamine how our tax dollars are spent overseas” amid a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the U.S. for nearly a year.
“Our government’s top priority must be our families, communities, and small businesses as we get through this pandemic and restore our country,” McCarthy wrote.
In a video posted Tuesday night, Trump had blasted the foreign aid items in the bill passed by Congress that included “$85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, $134 million to Burma,” and millions more to other countries, as well as domestic allocations that he described as “wasteful and unnecessary items.”
“It’s called the Covid relief bill but it has almost nothing to do with Covid,” the president said.
Trump called on Congress to revise the bill, insisting that lawmakers scale back other expenses so they could send stimulus checks of $2,000 to Americans instead of the $600 checks called for in the bill.
Democrats including Pelosi, U.S. Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders quickly seized on Trump’s support for the $2,000 checks – and idea they had backed. Pelosi on Wednesday called on the president to urge McCarthy to have House Republicans join Democrats in approving the higher check amount by “unanimous consent” in a Thursday morning vote.
In his letter late Wednesday, McCarthy fired back at Pelosi, saying Republicans would offer a unanimous consent request – but instead it would have to do with rejecting the foreign aid outlays that Congress had approved.
“It will be up to Speaker Pelosi to decide if she wants to act on behalf of the American people,” McCarthy wrote.
On Wednesday, Pelosi had criticized President Trump for not voicing his concerns sooner in the process as lawmakers negotiated the stimulus package that they sent to his desk.
“Just when you think you have seen it all, last night, the President said that he would possibly veto the bicameral agreement negotiated between Republicans and Democrats,” Pelosi wrote to House Democrats.
“…In the bipartisan negotiations, Leader Schumer and I repeatedly asked Republicans what would be the highest number the President would accept for direct…