(Tasos Katopodis/Pool/Sipa USA/TNS)

(Tasos Katopodis/Pool/Sipa USA/TNS)

Democrats pounce on Trump’s call for $2K checks as COVID stimulus bill hangs in balance

Dave Goldiner

New York Daily News

AOC says Donald Trump is right — at least when it comes to giving Americans $2,000 stimulus checks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the president’s bluff after Trump issued a remarkable 11th hour threat Tuesday night not to sign the sprawling COVID stimulus package.

“Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation,” the progressive firebrand tweeted. “We can pass $2K checks this week if (Republicans agree).”

Ocasio-Cortez quickly won the support of top Democrats Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said they would quickly introduce an amendment to increase the stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000.

“I’m in,” Schumer tweeted. “(Let’s) DO THIS!”

Despite the backing from the other side of the political spectrum, Trump’s last-minute effort to blow up the tortuous stimulus talks puts passage of the entire package in grave danger.

Republican lawmakers strongly oppose increasing the cost of the stimulus package even slightly. A move to more than triple the direct payment checks would blow up the price tag.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately respond to Trump’s gambit Wednesday.

The president has mostly been on the sidelines during months of high stakes negotiations for a new stimulus plan. Trump has occasionally demanded a “much bigger!” package but also ordered the GOP to scrap talks altogether at one point.

With hours ticking down to Christmas, Trump’s video stunned leaders on Capitol Hill in both parties as the White House announced he plans to jet to Florida for a holiday break Wednesday afternoon.

It was unclear if Trump’s own lame duck status would leave him with any leverage to bully GOP leaders to back his new plan. Insiders believe it is more likely he will come up with some other pretext to blame Democrats if the desperately needed package fails to materialize.

Aside from the COVID stimulus, Trump also derided several provisions in the separate must-pass spending bill. That measure needs to be enacted to avoid a government shutdown in coming days.

For the moment, Schumer urged Trump to act like a president instead of just playing one on Twitter.

“Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again,” Schumer tweeted.

CoronavirusDonald TrumpPolitics

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