House Republicans on Thursday morning blocked an effort by Democrats to authorize $2,000 stimulus payments to struggling Americans, which President Donald Trump has demanded be included in the latest COVID-19 relief bill.
The version of the legislation passed by Congress earlier this week contained $600 direct checks. Trump threatened to veto it without larger payments, putting Republicans in an extremely difficult position, perhaps as a form of payback for his November election loss.
Since the coronavirus economic relief package was tied to an omnibus spending bill, Trump has set the stage for a possible government shutdown if he decides to issue a veto.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had arranged a unanimous consent vote but members in the GOP caucus objected. But part of the plan was to get Republicans on the record is being against providing financially strapped American families and workers a generous infusion of cash.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted her Republican counterparts for the “callousness” of denying additional aid to millions of people on Christmas and urged Trump to put additional pressure on the GOP.
“Today, on Christmas Eve morning, House Republicans cruelly deprived the American people of the $2,000 that the President agreed to support. If the President is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly fought for bigger checks for the American people,” Pelosi said, “which House and Senate Republicans have repeatedly rejected – first, during our negotiations when they said that they would not go above $600 and now, with this act of callousness on the Floor.”
The Speaker also said that the House will reconvene on Monday to hold a roll call vote, with hopes that the Republican-led Senate will pass it.
“On Monday, I will bring the House back to session where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000. To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need,” the Speaker added. “Hopefully by then, the President will have already signed the bipartisan and bicameral legislation to keep the government open and to deliver coronavirus relief.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.