On Monday, the House of Representatives is voting on legislation that aims to increase the size of coronavirus relief stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person. The scheduled vote comes one day after President Trump signed a stimulus package and spending deal that will fund the government through September.
President Trump hesitated to sign the legislation, which passed the Senate and the House of Representatives early last week. He released a video on Tuesday in which he decried the size of the stimulus checks, calling them “disgraceful.” The President also called on Congress to cut what he characterized as “pork” out of the bill. He specifically singled out the billions in foreign aid that the spending bill contained.
President Trump’s campaign to cut foreign spending and increase the size of the checks continued throughout the week. He tweeted over the weekend that he wants to “get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill. Also, stop the billions of dollars of ‘pork.’”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried to get a bill passed to increase the size of the checks on Christmas Eve, but the measure failed to get unanimous consent.
On Sunday, Pelosi promised to bring a bill introduced by Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) which would change the passages in the stimulus bill that say $600 to $2,000.
In a statement, Pelosi said, “the President must immediately call on Congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000, which will be brought to the Floor tomorrow.” He also added a warning to Congressional Republicans, saying that, “Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardships that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need.”
According to The New York Times, the vote will require a 2/3 majority of votes in the House. If the House of Representatives reach that threshold, the bill would likely face a cold reception in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that he “would be surprised if we dealt with it.” According to Fox News, Republican Senators will feel little pressure to bring the bill to the floor because the government funding bill has passed and important aid programs for coronavirus relief has been renewed. This will allow them to focus on keeping the size of the bill under control so the federal deficit does not continue to skyrocket.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he would work to bring the bill to the Senate if it passes the House. He tweeted, “The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks. Then I will move to pass it in the Senate. No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?”
The vote on the $2,000 checks should take place in the House of Representatives on Monday night.
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Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”