The confusion on Capitol Hill has been astounding this week, and the timing could not have been worse.
For months on end, the American people have been waiting for a COVID-19 relief bill that hasn’t come. The stalemate was split directly down party lines for much of this waiting, up until President Donald Trump began demanding that the direct payments to Americans be increased to $2,000. This was not amenable to Congressional Republicans, but was favored by the Democrats.
Trump would eventually sign an earlier draft of the bill that provided only $600 in stimulus payments, but Congress is now moving to take another stab at the big bucks.
The measure would boost the stimulus checks in the year-end coronavirus relief and government funding package to $2,000 from $600. The vote comes a day after Trump signed the more than $2 trillion pandemic aid and full-year government spending bill into law.
Last week, the president called the legislation a “disgrace.” He waited days to sign the package after he received it from Congress. Trump claimed he opposed the bill — which his Treasury secretary helped to negotiate and which included many of his White House’s budget priorities — because it included too little direct money to Americans and too much foreign aid.
Trump has pushed for $2,000 payments in recent days. In a statement explaining his decision to sign the legislation Sunday, he noted that the House and potentially the Senate could move to approve larger cash deposits. However, most Republicans in the GOP-held Senate have opposed even a $1,200 check.
The move could leave the Senate GOP with egg on their face, as they’d be the only group who opposes the additional stimulus.
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