Schumer Pushes Petty Provision For ‘Phase 4’ Stimulus Package
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly will propose a measure that would block President Trump from having his name appear on any future coronavirus relief checks, as part of a potential “Phase 4” stimulus package.
Politico reported the provision will be titled the “No PR Act,” and would ban the use of federal funds to promote Trump or Vice President Pence’s names or signatures.
“President Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,” Schumer, D-N.Y., told Politico. “The No PR Act puts an end to the president’s exploitation of taxpayer money for promotional material that only benefits his re-election campaign.”
He added: “Delaying the release of stimulus checks so his signature could be added is a waste of time and money.”
Schumer’s expected provision comes after the president’s name appeared on millions of economic stimulus checks sent to Americans as part of the “Phase 3” coronavirus relief package, which totaled more than $2.2 trillion counting the relief payments and a variety of other programs.
The president’s name appeared on paper checks going to some Americans, while others received their relief payments via direct deposit. The president’s name, “President Donald J. Trump,” appeared in the memo section on the left hand side of those paper checks, but his signature was not included. Those who received their payment via direct deposit did not have anything including Trump’s name.
It is not standard practice for the name of the president to appear on government checks.
At the time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted the president’s decision to put his name on the check, saying: “Delaying direct payments to vulnerable families just to print his name on the check is another shameful example of President Trump’s catastrophic failure to treat this crisis with the urgency it demands.”
Meanwhile, Schumer’s proposal also comes as Congress has implemented several avenues to conduct oversight of the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19.
Last week, the House approved the creation of a committee, chaired by Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., to oversee the federal response, even as Republicans blasted the idea as politically motivated and argued Democrats would use it as a forum to attack the president.
Pelosi said the committee was designed to address the “here and now,” specifically concerning the allocation of the historic amount of federal funds directed to the economic recovery. She compared the panel to the committee chaired by then-Sen. Harry Truman in 1941 to investigate waste, fraud and abuse in defense spending in the early days of World War II.
“Again, this isn’t about assigning blame,” Pelosi said on the House floor Thursday. “It’s about taking responsibility.”
Pelosi added that the committee “will ensure the historic investment of taxpayer dollars are being used wisely and efficiently and nobody is ripping us off.”
And earlier this month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also announced their intention to create a 9/11-style commission, set to launch in February 2021 “hopefully after the pandemic has been overcome and after the presidential election.”
That commission would be granted subpoena power to compel cooperation from federal, state and local government officials, as it examines government preparedness in advance of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the president signed into law a nearly $500 billion “phase 3.5” emergency interim relief bill on Friday, and a “Phase 4” bill could follow.
Author: Brooke Singman