The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill Monday evening to increase direct coronavirus relief payments to some people to $2,000, though the measure faces an uphill battle in the Republican-run Senate, despite support from President Donald Trump.
The legislation would increase the $600 in direct payments to those who earned less than $75,000 last year to $2,000. Because the bill was brought up using an expedited procedure, it required a two-thirds majority to pass the House.
Trump insisted on increasing the payments after his administration struck a deal for the $600 checks as part of a coronavirus relief and government spending package, which passed both chambers of Congress last week and which his administration helped to negotiate.
“I simply want to get our great people $2,000, rather than the measly $600 that is now in the bill,” the president tweeted over the weekend from his Florida resort.
Trump cited the scheduled House vote in a statement Sunday announcing that he had finally signed the $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding package.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters on Monday ahead of the vote that he would try to pass the bill by unanimous consent on Tuesday — a procedure that would allow the bill to advance only if there are no objections.
“Every Senate Democrat is for it, but unfortunately, we don’t have the Republicans on board,” Schumer said, before urging Trump to change that dynamic.
“These Senate Republicans have followed you through thick and thin. Get them now to act and to support the $2,000 checks,” Schumer said.
The $600 payments are still expected to be made as early as the end of this week despite Trump’s delay, a senior Treasury Department official told NBC News. Checks might clear the following Monday, due to the federal and bank holiday on Friday.
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