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Schumer wants to wipe Trump’s name off stimulus checks, accuses president of ‘exploitation’

Schumer wants to wipe Trump’s name off stimulus checks, accuses president of ‘exploitation’
In a classic piece of Washington partisanship, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will introduce legislation to remove President Trump’s signature from stimulus checks, accusing Trump of pushing his "political interests.”

A $1,200 payment from the federal government, part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed into law by President Donald Trump last month, is supposed to reach approximately 150 million Americans. For the roughly 70 million whose paper checks are currently in the mail, the check will be signed by Trump, and will be accompanied by a letter from the president.

Attaching his name to these checks is no doubt a calculated move by Trump, with this year’s election little more than six months away. But it’s a move that Schumer wants to put an end to.

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“Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,” the New York Democrat said in a statement on Monday. “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.”

Schumer’s act would insert a provision into the next coronavirus relief package barring taxpayer dollars from being used to print the signatures of Trump or Vice President Mike Pence on any forthcoming checks.

The Senate Democrat leader argued that delivery of the checks was delayed by a Treasury Department order to print Trump’s signature on them, citing a recent Washington Post article. The Treasury has rejected the Post’s reporting, however, saying that the checks were mailed out “exactly as planned.”

Schumer’s own proposal can be seen as a PR move of sorts, as there is approximately zero chance of it being approved in the Republican-majority Senate.

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The coronavirus pandemic – which has seen nearly a million Americans infected and more than 55,000 dead – has not brought both sides of the aisle together in Washington. For example, an aid package worth nearly $500 billion was passed by Congress last week after Democrats held up its passage to secure funding for minority-owned businesses and local governments. 

Before passing the bill, House Democrats voted along party lines to open a committee panel to probe the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. The panel will have subpoena power, and will have wide-ranging authority to investigate how federal funds are being spent on relief efforts.

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House Republicans argued that there are already enough oversight committees tracking the pandemic response. Trump himself weighed in, accusing the Democrats of running “endless partisan investigations” and “witch hunts.”

Democrats have recently begun accusing the Trump administration of downplaying the severity of the coronavirus when the first cases cropped up in the US earlier this year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called his apparent “denial” of the danger “deadly,” and declared in a CNN interview last month that “as the president fiddles, people are dying.”

However, on the same day that the US recorded its first case of the deadly virus in Washington in January, Schumer was pressing his Senate colleagues to allow additional witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial of Trump. As Trump implemented limited restrictions on flights from China a week later, Pelosi held a press conference to declare the president “impeached for life,” and hinted that the House could launch further investigations, aimed at removing Trump from office.

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