The House voted to roughly triple pandemic-related stimulus checks to $2000 on Monday. The vote was 275-134 with a few dozen Republicans joining almost all Democrats to support the increase.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Ways and Means Ranking member, was one of the handful of Republicans who spoke out against the bill, stating the money could be better spent elsewhere in the economy.

The House’s action came just 24 hours after President Donald Trump came around and signed the $2.3 trillion funding and coronavirus relief bill in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Trump’s delay caused at least a temporary lapse in unemployment benefits to millions of struggling Americans. These programs expired the day after Christmas and were renewed in the relief package.

“We could’ve passed the bill four days ago but our colleagues on the other side went against the president’s wished and blocked it,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) on Monday.

Trump refused to sign this bill days before, complaining on Twitter that the direct payments should be increased from the current $600 to $2,000 per individual.

Moving forward, the Senate has to now decide whether or not to accept the House proposal. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will try to pass the House bill by unanimous consent on Tuesday, but Republicans are expected to object. Higher stimulus checks were resisted by many GOP senators in the past.

Without cooperation from all 100 senators, it would take several days to set up a roll call vote on the proposal, which would need to collect 60 votes, all occurring during Congress’ holiday break.

In a press conference on Monday, Schumer said Trump needs to be more vocal in demanding Republican support if he wants to get the stimulus boost enacted.

“These Senate Republicans have followed you through thick and thin,” Schumer said. “To the president: talking is not enough. Act. Get on the phone and get those Republicans in the Senate to support $2,000 in relief.”

If Democrats cannot secure the higher payment for the public, Trump gave them the opportunity to seize a politically popular stance and divide the GOP in the process. Forty-four House Republicans voted for the larger checks, with 130 opposed.

“The president of the United States has put this forth as something he wants to see,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. “I hope that view will be shared by the Republicans in the Senate.”

President-elect Joe Biden spoke on the vote, telling reporters on Monday he was in favor of raising the checks to $2,000. Conservative Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also endorsed the $2,000 payments as the House voted.

“I share many of my colleagues’ concern about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief,” Rubio said.

Read more about:

Leave a comment