In his explanation for why he is threatening to veto the COVID-19 stimulus compromise bill on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump said that the bill wastes millions of dollars on unrelated issues — and cited as an example, a provision giving $154 million to the National Gallery of Art.
"Despite all this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hard-working taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments and not enough money is given to small businesses and in particular restaurants," Trump said.
However, as POLITICO reported Caitlin Emma pointed out, there are two major problems with Trump's complaint.
First of all, the National Gallery of Art funding isn't actually part of the COVID-19 stimulus — it's part of the annual omnibus budget bill, which is being passed in parallel to the stimulus bill. And second of all, the $154 million is very close to the amount that Trump himself asked Congress to appropriate for the gallery in his Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal.
Trump similarly criticized foreign aid spending that he had requested in his proposed budget.
President Trump last night criticized foreign aid in the Omnibus spending bill approved by Congress, specifically c… https://t.co/Ei7tB8CIPa— Jamie Dupree (@Jamie Dupree) 1608737461.0
It is unclear what will happen if Trump vetoes the stimulus bill; it passed the House and Senate by veto-proof margins, but there is no guarantee all Republicans who backed the bill will back a veto override if they fear retaliation from the departing president.
House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have invited Trump to sign an amended version of the bill that offers $2,000 in direct payments per person.