CNBC contributor Ben White told the “The News with Shepard Smith” that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle want to see President Donald Trump sign the critical Covid stimulus and government funding bill, as millions of Americans are on the brink of losing their unemployment benefits.
“I think a lot of people both within the White House and in the Republican party on Capitol Hill, as well as Democrats, hope that he [President Trump] calms down and simply signs the bill very quietly, and doesn’t say anything about it,” said White, who is also Politico’s chief economic correspondent.
Lawmakers from both parties have urged Trump to sign the bill as is.
“The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that’s what he decides to do,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “It took us a long time to get to where we are, I think reopening that bill would be a mistake.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., appealed to the president’s pathos.
“Surely, the president of the United States, whether he’s in Mar-a-Lago or anyplace else, ought to empathize with the pain and suffering and apprehension and deep angst that the American people are feeling this Christmas Eve and sign this bill,” said Hoyer.
Trump, however, has threatened to not sign the Covid-19 relief deal as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls his bluff and has sent the bill anyway. A senior Senate Republican aide told NBC News that the bill was being flown to Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump is spending Christmas.
White explained that there “could be” enough support to override a veto from Trump and said that the Senate is the wildcard.
“The Senate is the question where Republicans are in control and traditionally don’t love to block things that the president wants or to reject him in any significant way,” White said. “This could be different, because Republicans really want this signed and done with, and, as we know, Trump is a lame duck president.”
One of the president’s demands included bigger stimulus checks of $2,000 instead of $600. House Democrats tried to approve the larger payments on Christmas Eve, but Republican lawmakers blocked it. White noted that the debate over larger stimulus checks creates a complicated political situation in the Georgia U.S. Senate races for Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
“Plenty of Georgians, Republicans included, would like to see these larger checks,” said White. “The Republican candidates there are not necessarily in favor of them, but it puts them in an awkward position, particularly now that Trump is on record saying he wants bigger stimulus checks.”