On Monday evening, House lawmakers passed a bill to raise stimulus checks for Americans from $600 to $2,000, though it stands little chance of passing the Senate. The vote follows urging from President Trump, who named the boost in direct aid as a condition for his signing the coronavirus relief bill negotiated by Congress.
The Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act passed the House easily Monday, 275-134.
44 Republicans joined 231 Democrats in supporting the measure. But it’s unclear whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the bill to the Senate floor, and it’s unlikely to pass if he does.
In the $900 billion relief package that the president signed Sunday night, stimulus checks are set at $600 per individual, half the amount Americans received in April. Last week, President Trump held up the bill — along with a larger package to fund the government through 2021 — as he called for larger checks and a handful of budget cuts.
“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people,” Trump said in a statement Sunday night.
On the floor Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on her Republican colleagues to follow the President’s call for larger payments.
“The President of the United States has put this forth as something that he wants to see,” Pelosi said on the House floor. “I hope that view will be shared by Republicans in the Senate.”
On Monday morning, the Senate convened for a pro forma session that lasted less than a minute, which means that any action on the Senate side would come Tuesday at the very earliest. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said he would move to pass the bill.
“I’m going to fight to pass the House’s bill to give Americans $2,000 checks in the Senate,” Schumer wrote on Twitter Monday. On Monday evening, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he would vote in favor of the bill, one of the few Republican lawmakers to publicly support larger checks.
“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 in a statement.
Last week, House Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to pass the $2,000 checks by unanimous consent on Christmas Eve. Larger checks have long had Democrats’ support, but the smaller $600 checks were seen as a compromise, since some Republicans prefer mean-based aid instead of universal payments.
Still lawmakers on both sides pushed for payments to be included in the final relief deal, especially Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO).