By Catherine Thorbecke, Kate Pastor, Ben Gittleson, Kim Soorin, Mariam Khan and Allison Pecorin, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — As Americans wait to learn whether President Donald Trump will sign a must-pass spending bill and COVID-19 relief package, Trump tweeted on Friday afternoon a reiteration of his demand that Americans receive $2,000 payments as opposed to the $600 in the current legislation.
“Why would politicians not want to give people $2000 rather than only $600?” he wrote.
The current bill took months to negotiate and was finalized just days before millions lose benefits if pandemic-era provisions expire. Then Trump demanded more money be sent directly to Americans.
House Democrats seized on Trump’s demand on Thursday, proposing $2,000 payments in a measure that was blocked by members of Trump’s own party.
Trump has spent the past two days at his golf club, while Vice President Mike Pence is reportedly spending the holidays at Vail.
Shortly after his tweet on the bill, the president tweeted that he’s going to do a video call with troops around the world, but that the “Fake News” is “not invited!”
Bidens post video with holiday message
In a pre-recorded message posted on social media, Biden and incoming first lady Jill Biden reflect on the difficult year that many Americans have endured and project a message of hope and gratitude as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. pic.twitter.com/NzVEFFfrG1
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 25, 2020
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. Jill and I wish you and your family peace, joy, health and happiness this season. But we know for so many of you in our nation this has been a very difficult year. And we’re reminded in this season of hope of our common humanity and what we’re called to do for one another. Many of our fellow Americans are struggling to find work, literally put food on the table, pay their rent or their mortgage. We’re reminded we’re on this earth to care for one another, to give what we can and to be a source of help and hope to friend and stranger alike,” Biden says in the video while sitting next to his wife.
“Many families are facing their first Christmas having lost a loved one,” Jill Biden says. “And Joe and I know that sorrow. And we know how in times of grief, a kind word can mean so much. This is also a season of gratitude and we’re so thankful for the front-line and essential workers who have put themselves at risk for all of us. And for the scientists and researchers who have worked to deliver vaccines that are an incredible scientific breakthrough. And we’re thinking of our service members, who are far from home, and the loved ones who miss them. Our family knows your sacrifice, and our hearts are with you.”
The president-elect also notes that his family has significantly slimmed down their Christmas celebration this year and asks Americans to consider limiting their travel and the size of family gatherings this year.
“For the Bidens, we usually have 20 to 25 people over Christmas Eve for dinner, but not this year. We’re gonna miss our family, but it’s what we need to do to keep our family safe. We hope you’ll consider limiting travel and the size of family gatherings as well this year,” Biden says.
“Even as our celebrations are dimmed, we know that this won’t be forever, and brighter days are coming soon,” Jill Biden adds.
COVID-19 relief, spending bill with the president
The COVID-19 relief and spending bill has arrived in Florida, where Trump is spending the Christmas holiday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
It’s now awaiting Trump’s signature or veto.
The president arrived at his golf club in West Palm Beach on Friday morning with no indication of whether he’ll sign.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is reportedly spending the holidays in the upscale Colorado ski resort town Vail.
Public health officials have urged Americans not to travel over Christmas in order to blunt an expected COVID-19 surge.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
Trumps send Christmas greetings
President Trump Friday morning tweeted succinctly: “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
On Christmas Eve, he and the first lady released a taped video of them wishing Americans a Merry Christmas.
Friday morning, the White House sent out a “presidential message on Christmas,” in which Trump again wished Americans a Merry Christmas.
Democratic challengers outraise Republican incumbents in Georgia runoffs
As the final two contests of the 2020 election cycle enter the home stretch, candidates have filed their pre-runoff reports to the FEC, showing how they’ve fared in the money race.
In the race between Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, the Democratic challenger has vastly outraised the incumbent senator.
From mid-October through mid-December, Warnock’s campaign raised $104 million and entered the final three weeks of the runoff with $23 million, while Loeffler’s campaign raised $66 million during that period and entered the final three weeks of the runoff with $21 million in the bank. In previous months, Loeffler, fueled by nearly $24 million of her own money, was outraising Warnock.
In the other contest, Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff raised $107 million and entered the final three weeks of the runoff with $17 million in the bank. Sen. David Perdue’s campaign reported that it raised roughly $69 million and entered the final three weeks of the race with $16 million in cash on hand.
Still, Republican outside political groups supporting Perdue and Loeffler are outspending Democratic outside groups supporting Ossoff and Warnock on television and radio advertising.
According to ad-buy data from CMAG, GOP outside groups have run or booked more than $167 million worth of television and radio ads since after the November Election Day through the January Election Day, while Democratic groups have run or booked roughly $54 million on ads during the same period.
-ABC News’ Kim Soorin
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