House Passes $2,000 Stimulus Check Bill, But The Plan Will Face Opposition In The Senate

Topline

The Democratic-led House of Representatives Monday passed a bill that would increase the second round of direct payments in the new stimulus bill to $2,000 after President Trump called the $600 payments authorized by the legislation “ridiculously low,” but there’s no guarantee the Republican-led Senate will sign on to the measure.

Key Facts

Trump upended the stimulus process again last week—as he has already done several times this year—by initially refusing to sign the $900 billion package his administration had helped negotiate because he said the $600 direct payments included in the legislation were too small. 

Trump unexpectedly signed the stimulus package and a $1.4 trillion federal budget bill into law Sunday evening after nearly a week of delay, but noted that Congress would vote imminently to increase the payments in the legislation from $600 to $2,000. 

Democrats said they would support the $2,000 payments that Trump wants (which would be far larger than even the $1,200 payments authorized by the CARES Act in March), but Republicans, wary of running up the deficit with excessive spending, have been reluctant to sign onto another round of checks at such a high level. 

Republicans have already blocked one attempt by the House to bump the $600 payments to $2,000 despite Trump’s insistence on the measure.

It’s possible that the Senate GOP could stand down and agree to larger payments to appease the President and give their party a boost in the upcoming runoff elections in Georgia, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made no mention of the $2,000 payments in a Sunday statement in support of Trump’s signature on the Covid-19 relief and 2021 budget bill.

Regardless of whether the Senate votes yes or no on the larger checks, eligible individuals and families will still receive the direct payments of $600 that were authorized by the legislation Trump signed Sunday evening.

Crucial Quote

“Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said of the standalone direct payment bill in a statement Sunday. 

What To Watch For 

The $2,000 direct payment bill will now move up to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he will bring it to a vote and has urged President Trump to encourage Republicans to sign onto the bill. “These Senate Republicans have followed you through thick and thin. Get them now to act and to support the $2,000 checks,” Schumer said, according to NBC News.”

Key Background

Stimulus checks emerged as a hot-button issue in relief negotiations this month after they were left out of a $908 billion bipartisan framework to keep the cost of the legislation low enough to be palatable to the GOP. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and a number of progressive lawmakers along with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) campaigned for the inclusion of direct payments in the final bill and threatened to veto any legislation that did not include them. 

Big Number

$463.8 billion. That’s how much increasing the direct payments in the new stimulus bill from $600 to $2,000 would cost, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. 

Tangent 

Trump’s delay in signing the new stimulus bill into law means that as many as 14 million Americans will lose out on one week of the expanded unemployment benefits because two emergency unemployment programs had already expired Saturday evening—before the new legislation took effect to extend them. 

Further Reading

Finally: Trump Signs $900 Billion Relief Bill Clearing Way For $600 Stimulus Checks And Averting Shutdown (Forbes)

Trump Blasts Covid Relief Package And Threatens Veto (Forbes)

Democrats Rally Around Trump’s Last Minute Request For $2,000 Checks—Will It Matter? (Forbes)

Stimulus Check Showdown: Sanders Demands $1,200 Payments While White House Pushes For $600 Check Compromise (Forbes)

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