US Covid relief bill at risk after Trump demands more stimulus money

President says he wants stimulus cheques to be $2,000 for Americans and $4,000 for families

US President Donald Trump said he might not sign the huge $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill Congress passed on Monday.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump said in a video on Twitter that he was disappointed with the bill Congress agreed to after weeks of extensive negotiations.

"The bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated," Mr Trump said. "It really is a disgrace."

Mr Trump said he wanted stimulus checks to be $2,000 for Americans and $4,000 for families.

The current bill would send $600 to Americans who earned up to $75,000 in 2019, and another $600 to those who have dependent children in their families.

Mr Trump called it "ridiculously low." The $600 is less than the $1,200 stimulus check sent in the beginning of the US pandemic outbreak.

"I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation, and to send me a suitable bill."

The spending items he criticised – for having nothing to do with the pandemic – were for the Smithsonian museum and research institution, foreign countries and other examples.

These items are part of the US government funding package, of which the Covid relief bill is part, as is practice in US legislation.

"Or else the next administration will have to deliver a Covid relief package. And maybe that administration will be me," Mr Trump concluded.

He still has not conceded the 2020 election to president-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to be inaugurated on January 20.

Mr Biden, on Tuesday called the bill a "down payment" and promised that he would ask Congress to approve additional Covid-related funding and stimulus checks.