Biden says 'darkest times' in pandemic are ahead, not behind

Biden says 'darkest times' in pandemic are ahead, not behind

"$2.5 million to count the number of Amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico, a provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatcheries", said President Trump regarding the COVID-19 spending bill.

The Republican president, who leaves office on January 20, had been expected to sign the sprawling legislation into law following its passage through Congress on Monday night.

Trump said the bill was a "disgrace" and called the $600 payments to individuals in the current bill "ridiculously low".

"Get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation and to send me a suitable bill", he told lawmakers.

"I have fought against this and having these direct cash payments", Blackburn said.

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US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams said that Mr Trump had a "medical reason" for not getting vaccinated just yet, after receiving an experimental antibody treatment while recovering from COVID-19 back in October.

And while Congress also would nearly certainly override a presidential veto of the funding package, Trump could pull off a "pocket veto", by simply refusing to sign the bill until the current Congressional term ends and the new session is installed January 3.

Democratic Party lawmakers had pushed for a much larger aid program, with the House passing a $3-trillion package in May and a $2-trillion version in October.

Trump said Congress needed to increase the $600 payment. That bill would face an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate. "They were only given a deduction for others to use in business, their restaurants, for two years".

The measure will include a new round of pandemic relief payments, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the US$600 checks will go out as early as next week.

On Twitter, Pelosi, a Democrat representing California, said amended legislation was ready to go.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi swiftly tweeted "let's do it" regarding the $2,000 checks, saying Republicans had "repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks" during the lengthy negotiations. She did not address Trump's other concerns.

Trump's statement was filmed by the White House and was not open to the press.