President-elect Joe Biden urged President Trump Saturday to sign the coronavirus relief bill — as the commander in chief repeated his demand that the “stingy” measure must include more generous stimulus checks for eligible Americans.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Biden warned that Trump’s “abdication of responsibility” would have “devastating consequences.”

“Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits. In just a few days, government funding will expire, putting vital services and paychecks for military personnel at risk,” Biden wrote.

“Delay means more small businesses won’t survive this dark winter because they lack access to the lifeline they need, and Americans face further delays in getting the direct payments they deserve as quickly as possible to help deal with the economic devastation caused by COVID-19,” he added.

Earlier, Trump — who refused to sign a $2.3 trillion bill that combined COVID-19 relief and government funding before leaving Washington on Wednesday — again insisted the measure does more for special interests than everyday Americans.

“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Also, stop the billions of dollars in ‘pork’.”
Later, he tweeted that “lockdowns in Democrat run states” are what is “absolutely ruining the lives of so many people.”

“Cases in California have risen despite the lockdown, yet Florida & others are open & doing well,” Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago, his home in the Sunshine State. “Common sense please!”

Trump voiced 11th hour opposition Tuesday to the $900 billion aid package that took House and Senate negotiators months to hammer out, arguing that it was stuffed with pork – including foreign aid spending — and that the $600 direct relief checks were simply too stingy.

The measure, paired with a massive $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the federal government through September, passed with huge bipartisan margins on Monday – but the president’s resistance has driven a wedge between members of his own party, most of whom have balked at his demands for changes.

“It took us a long time to get to where we are,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said Thursday. “I think reopening that bill would be a mistake.”

But South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called Trump’s call for bigger individual payouts “a reasonable demand” Friday, after spending part of Christmas Day with the president at Trump’s West Palm Beach, Fla., golf club.

“I hope Congress is listening,” Graham tweeted. “I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2000 per person.”

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler — who is locked in a tight Jan. 5 runoff race — said Wednesday that she too would consider Trump’s demand for a bigger stimulus “if it repurposes wasteful spending.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s call for additional stimulus has been enthusiastically taken up by some Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to ram it through the House failed Thursday, but another vote on a stand-alone measure to boost personal payouts is expected Monday.

If Trump continues to withhold his approval, much of the federal government will grind to a halt on Tuesday, when the continuing resolution that funds its operations runs out. That would trigger another legislative scramble as House and Senate negotiators patch together a short-term funding bill.

Trump has not said outright that he will veto the 5,593-page doorstopper legislation – but under the terms of the Constitution and realities of the calendar, he could scuttle it without actually rejecting it.

If Trump vetoes the measure, Congress could override his action with a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. Since the bill passed with large majorities – 359-53 in the House and 92-6 in the Senate – a veto override is likely.

But with time running out on the 116th Congress, which expires Jan. 3, Trump has another weapon he could wield: the pocket veto.

With this maneuver, Trump merely has to ignore the bill – or tuck it away in his pocket – for 10 legislative days.

By that time, the current Congress will be out of office, and all unfinished business, including in-limbo legislation, will die – leaving the matter of coronavirus relief, and the federal budget as a whole, up to the new 117th Congress to negotiate all over again.

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