PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump spent Christmas Day golfing at his West Palm Beach club while millions of Americans faced the risk of losing jobless benefits on Saturday and the threat of a partial government shutdown next week if he refuses to sign a $2.3 trillion coronavirus aid and spending package.
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, whose victory Trump still refuses to acknowledge nearly two months after the Nov. 3 election, spent the day at his Delaware home and had no public events, according to his staff. Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
Trump stunned members of both parties when he unexpectedly announced this week his dislike of the $2.3 trillion spending bill, a package that had taken members of Congress months to negotiate. The bill provides $892 billion in coronavirus relief, and $1.4 trillion in regular government appropriations.
A source familiar with the situation said many White House officials were caught by surprise. While his strategy going forward on the bill is unclear, he could still sign the package given he has not made an explicit veto threat.
The bill is now at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort, awaiting his decision.
Without his signature on the coronavirus aid bill, about 14 million people will lose unemployment benefits on Saturday, and a partial government shutdown will begin on Tuesday.
Trump played golf with his close ally and fellow Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham, said a source familiar with the president’s activities. The White House said he was briefed on a Nashville vehicle explosion that injured three people in what police described as an “intentional act.”
On Christmas Eve, Trump tweeted a series of grievances, repeating baseless claims about the election result, including one aimed at Senate Republicans, whom he accuses of abandoning him because many now publicly recognize Biden as the winner.
Trump, who was represented in the negotiations with lawmakers by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and had not objected to the terms prior to the votes in the House of Representatives and Senate, complained that the package was too full of money for special interests and foreign aid, and said the $600 in direct payments to most Americans was too small, demanding instead that the amount be increased to $2,000.
CONGRESS TO RETURN
Americans face an unprecedented holiday season amid a pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 people in the United States, and the daily death toll is repeatedly well over 3,000 people, the highest since the pandemic began.
Trump this week issued dozens of pardons, including to former aides and four private security guards convicted of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians.
Meanwhile, Congress, which normally is adjourned the last week of December, will be preparing to return to work.
On Monday, following the Christmas weekend, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on overriding Trump’s veto of a $740 billion bill authorizing the country’s defense programs. If the House vote succeeds, the Senate could hold its vote as early as Tuesday..
Trump could also choose to take advantage of a situation known as a “pocket veto,” rather than outright vetoing the coronavirus aid package.
Because the current Congress expires on Jan. 3, Trump could let the normal 10-day period that a president has to sign or veto a bill simply run out. Bills die if they are not enacted during the Congress in which they are introduced.
If he does issue a veto, the House and Senate could try to override it next week. Congress might also have to pass a stopgap spending bill on Monday, before money that funds government operations expires at midnight.
Also on Monday, the Democratic-controlled House plans to vote on legislation providing one-time, $2,000 checks to individuals to help them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporting by Steve Holland in Palm Beach, Florida and Tim Reid in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, Simon Lewis in Wilmington, Delaware and Richard Cowan in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons, Mary Milliken and Howard Goller
Caballeros are right to stay out of politics – Santa Fe New Mexican
My compliments and support for the recent decision of the Caballeros de Vargas to abstain from local politics.
I am an Anglo and not a Roman Catholic, but consider Santa Fe my home, my community. It is where I feel a connection with the Earth, with fellow human beings, with life itself. Compassion, respect, coexistence, hospitality to the stranger; these are all values that I see as a part of the history of the Santa Fe community. I see these values being reflected in how the Caballeros honor La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Peace, the Virgin Mary statue so central to the city’s history.
I used to feel that one did not need to be a Hispanic Catholic of Santa Fe heritage to be a contributing member of the community, as long as you recognized and supported these values. Unfortunately, the last several years I have seen communications by, and received from, members of the community that made me feel that not being of “Spanish” heritage in New Mexico, I was not welcomed in the community. I thought there was a rich, historic heritage of different opinions being welcomed here, to be civilly debated, as long as the focus was on what was best for the community, the people, the land. One’s history and experiences give each of us a different perspective. It is that blend of views and ideas that can generate healthy change, while preserving these historic values of the community.
The history of La Conquistadora and of Don Diego de Vargas should not be forgotten. But history is messy and complicated, a reflection of human life. Mistakes, errors in judgment, happen. New knowledge of the past is learned. But, if the focus is on reverence of life and support of the community, no matter if community is defined locally or worldwide, then one’s actions should be respected.
Fiesta de Santa Fe, and the role of Los Caballeros in it, is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse history of Santa Fe. All of the history, good and bad. A time to give thanks for life, for harvest, for family, for my fellow citizens, my fellow human beings. Making it exclusive to only certain people does not reflect the values being celebrated.
La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Peace, may not be part of my personal faith or cultural heritage. But her values have captured my heart. I will always honor her and those who reflect the community values I feel she represents. I am glad the Caballeros will continue to honor and reflect those values and have chosen to not become part of the current visceral and vindictive local politics.
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