Graham: Trump 'more determined than ever' to get bigger stimulus payments

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (R-S.C.) said Friday night after spending part of the day with President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE that the president is "more determined than ever" to stick by his demand for bigger stimulus payments for Americans than those approved by Congress in a bill passed this week.

Graham's remarks come as Trump and Congress are locked in a standoff over the size of payments to millions of Americans as part of the latest COVID-19 relief bill, after the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation that Trump has criticized and not signed, putting it in limbo.

"After spending some time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection," Graham tweeted on Friday night.

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"Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people," he added.

Graham, a top Trump ally in Congress, weighed in after spending time golfing with the president at his club in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday. The president is staying at his nearby Mar-a-Lago resort for the holidays.

The $2.3 trillion government funding and coronavirus relief package arrived at Mar-a-Lago this week, though its fate is unclear. While he has not threatened to veto the bill, the president also has not said he'll sign it.

Trump has been at odds with Congress this week over the latest coronavirus deal, with his surprise opposition to the legislation throwing the latest relief bill and government funding package into uncertainty.

The president has criticized the $900 billion COVID-19 deal, which came after months of slow-moving negotiations between both parties as well as his administration, by focusing on the size of the payments to Americans. He has called for $2,000 payments instead of the $600 payments that lawmakers approved along with a number of other provisions to provide economic relief amid the pandemic.

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The coronavirus deal was passed along with a $1.4 trillion package to fund the federal government through October. Republicans have urged Trump to sign the legislation, with unemployment benefits set to expire Saturday and a shutdown looming starting Tuesday unless the president signs the bill or Congress passes a new measure and the president signs it.

The president indicated in tweets on Christmas Day and on Saturday that he was still pushing for bigger payments for Americans.

"Made many calls and had meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach, Florida. Why would politicians not want to give people $2000, rather than only $600? It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!" he tweeted earlier Friday.

"I simply wan to get our great people $2000, rather than $600. Also, Congress should cut the 'pork,'" he added in another tweet Saturday.

Trump has separately criticized an annual defense policy bill, referenced by Graham, and vetoed the legislation this week. The president blasted the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act for failing to repeal a key liability shield for social media companies, known as Section 230.

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Congress will hold an unusual holiday session in the coming week to vote to potentially override the president's veto of the mammoth defense bill, which has been passed each of the last 59 years. The bill authorizes special pay and bonuses for troops, training programs, military projects, and other operations.

Trump tweeted Saturday to also reiterate his opposition to that bill.