The House of Representatives on Monday will vote on a bill to send $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans in lieu of the $600 checks included in the coronavirus stimulus and government funding package President Trump signed Sunday night.
The vote will come after Trump for the better part of a week railed against the size of the checks and the amount of foreign aid included in the massive combination of two legislative accords that lawmakers sent to his desk.
The Monday vote won’t address the “pork” that Trump has said he wishes to cut — despite the fact he requested much of it in his budget. But it will force GOP House members to go on the record on whether to increase the price tag on the stimulus checks after the president demanded they do so.
“I simply want to get our great people $2000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” Trump said in a tweet Saturday.
“Now, 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,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday night.
“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,” she added.
The bill the House will vote on Monday was first introduced by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. It’s just a few pages long and simply changes the passages in the stimulus Trump just signed that say $600 to $2,000. That made its enactment dependent on Trump signing the stimulus and spending bill, which was in doubt until Sunday night.
Trump signing the stimulus, however, is just one step that needs to happen if Democrats’ effort for $2,000 checks is to succeed. It will still need to clear the GOP-controlled Senate and later be signed by the president. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, “I would be surprised if we dealt with it” if Democrats managed to pass a bill for $2,000.
Plus, the fact that Trump signed the stimulus into law may take pressure off Republicans in both the House and the Senate to vote for the boosted checks, allowing them to stick to their guns on keeping the size of the relief package under control. The government is now funded for the next year, crucial benefits helping Americans through the pandemic are renewed and $600 checks will be on the way even if the $2,000 checks don’t pass.
Trump Sunday night as he signed the funding package said he plans to send requests for Congress to address his foreign aid objections separately, potentially indicating he is open to dual efforts on the size of the stimulus checks and cutting foreign aid funding. Notably, however, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said the House will not address Trump’s “recissions” requests.
And the Senate will still have to agree to boost the checks if the bill passes the House.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday he will aim to swiftly pass the $2,000 checks through the Senate if it makes it through the House.
“The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks,” He said in a Sunday tweet. “Then I will move to pass it in the Senate. No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?”
Adding to the intrigue is the fact Pelosi has set the Monday bill up to be voted on as a “suspension” measure, meaning that it will require a two-thirds supermajority vote to pass. It’s not clear exactly how many Republicans will vote for the checks. That number could also potentially be affected by further Twitter exhortations from Trump on Monday.
Fox News is told by a member of House GOP leadership that the measure should secure two-thirds, but that sentiment is not necessarily universal.
The House meets at 2 p.m. Monday and votes are expected to happen after 3 p.m. — the body will also vote to override the president’s veto on the National Defense Authorization Act Monday.
Attendance for the vote will be another element that could affect the margins, as it’s not clear every lawmaker will make it back to Washington, D.C., for the Monday after Christmas or will submit proxy votes.
And, if the stimulus checks measure initially fails in the House, it could be brought up for a subsequent vote, which would only need a simple majority to succeed.
But no matter what happens with the political machinations in Washington, D.C., in the waning days of the current Congress and of Trump’s time in office, the fact remains the government has been funded and additional coronavirus aid has been passed, averting a government shutdown and a series of other cascading crises.
“Pelosi delayed and damaged the country for months, but @realDonaldTrump just signed COVID Relief into law,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted Sunday. “Paycheck Protection is renewed. Thousands of small businesses will be able to keep doors open and workers paid. Thank you, Mr. President, for putting people over politics.”
“I thank the President for signing this relief into law, along with full-year government funding legislation that will continue the rebuilding and modernization of our Armed Forces that his Administration has championed,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement. “His leadership has prevented a government shutdown at a time when our nation could not have afforded one.”
Added Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.: “I am relieved the President has signed our bipartisan relief bill. I hope these emergency benefits can be quickly distributed to keep Americans fed & housed and our small businesses operating.”