After criticizing and threatening to veto the COVID relief bill that “did not provide enough for the American people” suffering from the pandemic, President Donald Trump has signed the bill and averted government shutdowns and hold outs on much needed COVID relief payments. The $2.3 trillion COVID relief bill included $900 billion in pandemic relief.
Democrats have applauded Trump for signing the relief bill. In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump signing the bill is “is welcome news for the fourteen million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas Weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”
In an official Whitehouse statement, Trump agreed to “sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.”
‘A special message’
Trump will be demanding rescissions under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Trump said: “The Act provides that ‘whenever the President determines that all or part of any budget authority will not be required to carry out the full objectives or scope of programs for which it is provided, or that such budget authority should be rescinded for a fiscal policy or other reasons (including termination of authorized projects or activities for which budget authority has been provided,) the President shall transmit to both Houses of Congress a special message be describing the amount to be reserved, the relevant accounts, the reasons for the rescission, and the economic effects of the rescission.”
Trump said: “On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200. Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed.”
Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act was meant to reduce web-based companies’ responsibility for independent user posts, while also giving these companies powers to censor things like offensive content and hate speech. Trump felt that this act was giving too much free reign for Big Tech companies to limit conservative viewpoints and devalue free speech. Trump expressed his concern by stating: “Does congress know this is how communism starts?”
If the act was terminated or substantially reformed — depending on how it was reformed — it could drive Big Tech companies to either highly censor things, so that they would not be responsible for anything that could be taken as offensive, or to not censor at all, leaving the Internet open for any type of information to be relayed freely.
Republican Congressman Chris Cox, who wrote the act in 1996, said that it was created to give the up-and-coming tech companies of the time a sword and shield and to foster free speech and innovation. Cox stated: “Without Section 230, sites would have strong incentives to go one of two ways: either sharply limit what users can post, so as to avoid being sued, or to stop moderating entirely, something like 8chan — now operating under the name 8kun — where anonymous users can post just about anything and speech supporting racism and sexism is common.”
Trump also had the House and Senate agree to focus strongly on the alleged substantial voter fraud that took place in the recent Presidential election.
Trump reaffirmed the American public of his duty to the people, saying: “It is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China Virus.” And that: “Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!”