Democrats will try to approve $2,000 direct checks, putting Republicans on the spot
House Democrats will bring forward a bill to provide direct checks of $2,000 to individuals on Thursday, after President Trump called on Congress to amend a newly passed coronavirus relief bill to increase direct payments to $2,000, with $4,000 for a couple. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will try to pass the bill by unanimous consent — meaning that only one Republican member opposing the proposal needs to be present in order to block the bill.
Mr. Trump indicated in a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday that he would not sign thepassed by both houses of Congress on Monday. The package provides for adults making up to $75,000 per year and children, with $2,400 for a family of four.
The president's demand comes after weeks of negotiations, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin playing an active part in determining the final numbers before the relief bill and an omnibus spending package passed with overwhelming majorities. By holding a voice vote on Thursday, Democrats will attempt to call Mr. Trump's bluff and force Republicans to go on the record for their opposition to increasing direct payments from $600 to $2,000.
The previous bipartisan relief bill passed by Congress in March, the CARES Act, provided direct checks of $1,200 for adults and $500 for children. The House passed ain May, the , which would have provided direct payments of $1,200 to adults and children, with up to $6,000 per household.
However, McConnell refused to bring the HEROES Act to the Senate floor, arguing that it was too large and contained too many provisions unrelated to the coronavirus. Mr. Trump also slammed the bill, saying that the inclusion of direct funding for state and local governments amounted to a bailout for blue states.
The House then passed a revised, $2 trillion version of the HEROES Act in October, which still included the direct payments. However, McConnell still refused to bring the legislation to the Senate floor, and instead tried to pass a targeted $500 billion bill that did not include direct payments.