AUSTIN (KXAN) — While President Donald Trump ultimately signed the federal COVID-19 relief stimulus bill late Sunday, Texas lawmakers aren’t entirely “relieved” the relief bill has been passed or pleased with the process of how it got done.
The $900 billion relief bill will provide critical funds to businesses and individuals, but it also polarized Congress, who couldn’t agree on various add-ons and amounts.
While hundreds of billions will go toward items like unemployment insurance and the Paycheck Protection Program, there are other inclusions, like clean energy funding, that were derided.
In the days leading up to the signing, it was unclear whether Trump would acquiesce on a bill he’d dismissed as “pork” for sending billions overseas.
Congressional Democrats applauded Trump’s decision — though some considered the president to be using Americans’ needs as bargaining chips — and while many Republicans lauded Trump’s action, reaction overall was all over the map.
Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, praised Trump’s decision, but lambasted federal lawmakers for “hypocrisy” and “complacency,” saying in part:
“In what is becoming all too common for Congress, the COVID-19 relief bill was dumped on the President’s desk filled with pork spending and pet projects, which significantly reduced the meaningful support that struggling Americans deserve,” Bonnen said. “It is clear President Trump recognized the immense flaws of the bill but was backed into a corner due to Congress running out the clock and sending him an all-or-nothing proposal.”
Bonnen’s comments come just one day after he announced he, his wife and his son had all tested positive for coronavirus.
Republican Rep. Chip Roy, TX-21, called the bill “#SwampSpending,” and was more critical.
“…the president capitulated, signed the bill, and left conservatives holding the bag with a vote on un-offset spending… Now, the swamp has gotten exactly what it wanted,” Roy wrote in a tweet.
Roy knocked the bill’s funding for two new Smithsonian museums, one dedicated to Latinos and one to women, which he says are “politically motivated” and would lead to government-funded “critical race theory,” or the study of how historical racism affects the present.
Now, the U.S. Treasury is trying to get the much-needed and much-delayed stimulus check payments in the hands of Americans as soon as next week, the Washington Post reports.
Democrats are displeased with how the process got done, too. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, TX-35, criticized the president’s decision to at first bash the bill, only to sign it a week later.
“In the meantime, millions of Americans have lost one week of unemployment compensation solely as a result of his amazing conduct, and nothing has been gained by doing this,” Doggett said. “So I think this administration is ending as it began — with chaos and costly to so many of our neighbors.”
Trump signed the bill before he continued a call for Congress to alter the stimulus check amounts from the approved $600 to $2,000 — making the change unlikely. The House passed a standalone bill on Monday evening, however, increasing to the $2,000 amount.
For many Americans, it’ll still be several weeks before any relief arrives — just as President-elect Biden is set to take office, leaving the new administration an enormous follow-up to check off.