Politics

House passes a $ 2,000 stimulus check bill left to the GOP-controlled Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., September 28, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ Appeal, Inc. | Getty Images

Parliament voted Monday to increase the second round of federal direct payments to $ 2,000 as Democrats accept President Donald Trump’s demands to put more money in Americans’ pockets.

The move would increase stimulus controls under the coronavirus aid package and government funding package from $ 600 to $ 2,000 by the end of the year. The vote came the day after the signing of the $ 2 trillion pandemic aid and the year-round government spending bill.

The House passed the payments in a quick process with just enough assistance to hit the required two-thirds threshold. The chamber approved the measure with 275-134 votes.

Democrats backed the bill by a margin of 231-2. Forty-four GOP officials backed the move and 130 voted against after Republican spent days calling for Trump to increase payments to $ 2,000.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether the House would vote on the bill passed by Parliament. In a statement on Sunday welcoming Trump’s decision to pass the bill by the end of the year, McConnell made no mention of plans to vote on larger payments.

Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate minority, said Monday he would try to pass the laws in the Senate on Tuesday.

“Every Senate Democrat is in favor of this much-needed increase in emergency financial aid, which can be approved tomorrow unless a Republican blocks it. There is no good reason for Senate Republicans to stand in the way,” he said in a statement.

Last week the president called the relief bill passed by Congress a “shame”. He waited days to sign the package after receiving it from Congress. Trump claimed he was opposed to the bill his Treasury Secretary helped negotiate, which included many of his White House’s budget priorities, because it contained too little direct money for Americans and too much foreign aid.

When asked if the $ 600 payments were still on their way as of this week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier, a senior finance official said the department expected the payments to be made on the schedule he was discussing. If Congress approves the $ 2,000 checks, the department will top up the money already spent.

In a statement explaining his decision to sign the law on Sunday, Trump noted that the House, and possibly the Senate, could approve larger cash contributions. Most Republicans in the GOP Senate, however, have opposed a check for $ 1,200.

Trump’s move completes the chaotic eight months of efforts in Washington to send another round of coronavirus relief. Americans waited months for more help after the financial lifelines that helped them through the first few months of the pandemic ran out over the summer. Trump’s delays in signing the year-end bill can cost millions of unemployed Americans a week of unemployment benefits after two key relief programs briefly expire.

The president’s signature prevented the government from closing, which would have started on Tuesday. Further delays would have endangered a federal eviction moratorium, which will be extended by one month until January 31.

Calling the relief bill a down payment, Democrats plan to push for further aid after President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. Since they had asked for larger direct payments during the relief talks, they jumped on the president’s support for $ 2,000 deposits.

On Monday, Biden told reporters he was supporting payments of $ 2,000.

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Has urged Trump to put more pressure on his party to support the checks.

“To reject this would mean to deny the economic challenges people are facing and it would again deny them the relief they need,” she said on Monday ahead of the House vote.

At least one Senate Republican, Marco Rubio of Florida, said he would support the larger payments.

“I share the concern of many of my colleagues about the long-term impact of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working-class families across the country are still in desperate need of help,” he said in a statement Monday.

Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Threatened to delay the Senate’s plans to overturn Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act this week unless the chamber votes on the larger checks.

House Democrats unanimously tried to make payments of $ 2,000 during a pro forma meeting on Thursday. However, the vote failed because House Minority Chairman Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Did not approve it.

Earlier this month, Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Twice rejected attempts to unanimously pass US $ 1,200 direct payments in the Senate. Sanders and Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Pushed for the checks as part of the relief package.

Schumer’s attempt to put pressure on the Senate Republicans stems from the fact that two GOP incumbents – Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler – will compete in Georgia on January 5 to control the Senate and shape Biden’s agenda . Democrats have made pandemic aid a major topic in the races.

The $ 900 billion portion of the pandemic relief legislation includes payments of $ 600 plus a weekly unemployment insurance supplement of $ 300 per week through mid-March. It expands programs that enable freelance, gig, and self-employed professionals to receive benefits and increase the number of weeks people can get insurance.

The bill provides more than $ 300 billion in small business support, mostly in the form of forgivable loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. A $ 25 billion rental aid fund will be created.

It includes more than $ 8 billion to distribute Covid-19 vaccines and $ 20 billion to record free shots to Americans. It will also invest $ 82 billion in education as schools struggle to reopen, and $ 45 billion in transportation, including airline payroll assistance.

The aid package does not fund state and local government aid that Democrats and many Republicans support as a measure to prevent layoffs. However, the GOP heads of government have spoken out against approving the aid without also protecting companies from coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Democrats plan to push for state and local support and another round of direct payments, among other things, after Biden takes office.

– CNBC’s Ylan Mui contributed to this report

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