Update 1:30 p.m. ET Dec. 29: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday objected to a request by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seeking a unanimous vote to pass a bill which would boost the amount of cash sent to Americans as part of Congress’ most recent coronavirus relief bill.
Original story: Sen. Chuck Schumer says he will try to get a vote Tuesday on a bill to boost direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000 for millions of Americans, even though the measure appears to have little chance of surviving the Republican-led Senate.
On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill calling for an increase in direct payments to millions of Americans. The vote came a day after President Donald Trump signed into law a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill that included $600 direct payments to millions of Americans.
“Tomorrow I will move to pass the legislation in the Senate to quickly deliver Americans with $2,000 emergency checks. Every Senate Democrat is for this much-needed increase in emergency financial relief, which can be approved tomorrow if no Republican blocks it – there is no good reason for Senate Republicans to stand in the way,” Schumer, D-New York, said in a statement.
“There’s strong support for these $2,000 emergency checks from every corner of the country — Leader (Mitch) McConnell ought to make sure Senate Republicans do not stand in the way of helping to meet the needs of American workers and families who are crying out for help,” Schumer said.
Schumer faces an uphill climb in his bid to increase the stimulus payment. According to Senate rules, while any one member can try to vote on a bill like the one passed by the House on Monday, any one member can also block that request.
The bill to increase the direct payment to Americans would be the second stimulus check since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March. It was passed by the House on a bipartisan 275-134 vote.
Forty-four Republicans voted for the legislation, giving the bill the required two-thirds majority by three votes.
The bill, called the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act, would give a $2,000 payment to those making up to $75,000 per year in adjusted gross income.
The income threshold for couples would be $150,000 and those who file income taxes using the Head of Household designation could make up to $112,000 and get the full $2,000 check.
Those who make more than the thresholds laid out in the bill would see diminishing amounts the amount of the checks starts to phase out, depending on their income.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said in a statement Monday that “The president of the United States has put this forth as something that he wants to see and part of his signing the legislation yesterday. I hope that view will be shared by the Republicans in the Senate, because we will pass this bill today.”
“Republicans have a choice: vote for this legislation or vote to deny the American people the bigger paychecks they need,” Pelosi continued. “To reject this would be in denial of the economic challenges that people are facing and it would deny them, again, the relief they need.”
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted his support for the increase, saying “$2000 for our great people, not $600! They have suffered enough from the China Virus!!!”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, announced Monday his support for the increased payment.
“I share many of my colleagues’ concern about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working-class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief,” Rubio said in a statement.
“Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.”
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson could be the senator who ends Schumer’s bid to get a vote on the bill. Johnson blocked earlier attempts to pass legislation for a second stimulus check that would have sent $1,200 to eligible Americans.
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