Unlike the warring sides in World War I who paused on Christmas Eve to share food, a game of soccer and carols, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have refused to lay down their arms.
At issue is the omnibus bill that bundles $900 billion in coronavirus aid with a $1.4 trillion 2021 government spending bill.
The two sides had agreed to a plan Sunday night with $600 checks for Americans crushed financially by the coronavirus and hundreds of millions of dollars to fund political agendas overseas.
President Trump threw a wrench in the plan by insisting that the checks be raised to $2,000, and he didn’t want all of that wasteful overseas spending included.
Because of the holidays, most members of Congress had gone home, so both sides proposed unanimous consent plans. Democrats proposed simply agreeing to raising the checks to $2,000, while Republicans wanted to cut foreign spending.
Both proposals went down in flames.
Trump has not vetoed the bill, and if he doesn’t act, it will die.
The Washington Examiner reported lawmakers will have to deal with the bill on Monday with a government shutdown deadline looming because of the expiration of a temporary funding bill.
Fox News reported the $2,000 payments were put forward by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who said the proposal was “consistent” with President Trump’s wishes.
But Republicans accused Democrats of “selective hearing” since they did not address the second part of Trump’s concerns, the overseas spending, which included $10 million for a gender program in Pakistan.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., proposed a plan to return spending on various programs to 2020 levels, which the Democrats would not allow.
“A few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever,” Trump said of the plan from Congress. “However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.”
House Minorithy Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a letter to fellow Republicans, said that “by waiting days before Christmas, Speaker Pelosi tried to use the American people as leverage to make coronavirus relief contingent on government funding — which includes billions of foreign aid at a time when there are urgent needs at home.”
“House Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing. They have conveniently ignored the concerns expressed by the president, and shared by our constituents, that we ought to reexamine how our tax dollars are spent overseas while so many of our neighbors at home are struggling to make ends meet. Thus, Republicans will offer a unanimous consent request to revisit the State and Foreign Operations title of the Omnibus so that we can fully address the concerns at hand,” he said.
Even if members of the House had agreed, the future of either plan in the Senate was questionable.
The pressure is on, since the current funding lasts only until Monday. Also, unemployment benefits for many Americans are set to run out on Saturday.
According to History.com, on Christmas Eve in 1914 German and British troops fighting across a no-man’s land stopped the shooting to sing Christmas carols with each other.
“At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out ‘Merry Christmas’ in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. Some Germans lit Christmas trees around their trenches, and there was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer,” the report said.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.