WASHINGTON — Democrats are finally drawing a line in the sand, and it is here: President Trump needs to stop putting his personal signature on stimulus checks from the U.S. taxpayer.
In fact, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is introducing a bill to stop it called the “No PR Act.”
The bill would prohibit spending federal dollars on materials sporting Trump or Vice President Mike Pence’s names or signatures, Schumer told Politico Monday, adding that the measure aims to stop Trump’s “exploitation” of coronavirus response efforts for his own political gain.
“President Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests,” Schumer said in a statement. “The No PR Act puts an end to the president’s exploitation of taxpayer money for promotional material that only benefits his re-election campaign.”
The move follows an unprecedented administration decision to print Trump’s signature on the $1,200 checks now being mailed out to Americans across the country to help them survive the economic devastation unleashed by the coronavirus contagion, which has shuttered businesses and sent unemployment figures skyrocketing.
The checks were included in part of a $2.2 trillion economic rescue plan Trump signed in March. Adding Trump’s name raised at least the possibility of slowing down their release by several days, according to the Washington Post, although the Treasury Department has denied the move created a speed bump.
Schumer hopes to pass the bill in the next round of coronavirus stimulus legislation, even though that seemingly won’t arrive in time to stop the Trump administration from mailing out millions of the Trump-signed checks, which began flowing this month.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-WA) has demanded the Treasury Department explain the decision to add Trump’s name. The Internal Revenue Service has never added the president’s signature to a payment sent out to millions of Americans before.
Trump, of course, built an entire career out of slapping his name on seemingly every business he ever owned, along with everything from helicopters to airplanes, steaks, bottled water, golf courses, and even hotels and condos he didn’t build. But Trump denied reports that adding it to the checks started as his idea — while admitting he thinks it’s pretty cool.
“I don’t know too much about it,” Trump claimed. “I’m sure people will be very happy to get a big, fat, beautiful check, and my name is on it.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it was his initiative.
“That was my idea,” Mnuchin told CNN. “He is the president, and I think it’s a terrific symbol to the American public.”
Cover: President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks before signing the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2020. (Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)