Fate of Trump’s $2,000 checks now rests with GOP-led Senate

Fate of Trump's $2,000 checks now rests with GOP-led Senate

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s push for $2,000 COVID-19 aid checks now rests with the Senate after the Home voted overwhelmingly to satisfy the president’s demand to extend the $600 stipends, however Republicans have proven little curiosity in boosting spending.

The end result is very unsure heading into Tuesday’s session. Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell has declined to publicly deal with how he plans to deal with the difficulty. However Democrats, sharing a uncommon precedence with Trump, have seized on the chance to power Republicans right into a tough vote of both backing or defying the outgoing president.

After bipartisan approval by the Home, Senate Democratic chief Chuck Schumer warned, “There isn’t a good cause for Senate Republicans to face in the way in which.”

“There’s robust help for these $2,000 emergency checks from each nook of the nation,” Schumer stated in a press release late Monday. He referred to as on McConnell to ensure the Senate helps “meet the wants of American staff and households who’re crying out for assist.”

The Home tally was a surprising flip of occasions. Simply days in the past Republicans blocked Trump’s sudden calls for for larger checks throughout a quick Christmas Eve session as he defiantly refused to signal the broader COVID-19 help and year-end funding invoice into legislation.

As Trump spent days fuming from his non-public membership in Florida, the place he’s spending the vacations, dozens of Republicans calculated it was higher to hyperlink with Democrats to extend the pandemic stipend quite than buck the outgoing president and constituents relying on the cash. Democrats led passage, 275-134, however 44 Republicans joined virtually all Democrats in approval.

Senators had been set to return to session Tuesday amid related, stark GOP divisions between those that align with Trump’s populist instincts and others who adhere to what had been extra conventional conservative views towards authorities spending. Congress had settled on smaller $600 funds in a compromise over the massive year-end aid invoice Trump reluctantly signed into legislation.

Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, “Republicans have a selection: Vote for this laws or vote to disclaim the American folks the larger paychecks they want.”

The showdown might find yourself as extra image than substance if Trump’s effort fizzles out within the Senate.

The legislative motion in the course of the uncommon vacation week session could do little to alter the $2 trillion-plus COVID-19 aid and federal spending package deal Trump signed into legislation Sunday, one of many greatest payments of its form offering aid for tens of millions of Individuals.

That package deal — $900 billion in COVID-19 help and $1.4 trillion to fund authorities businesses — will ship long-sought money to companies and people and avert a federal authorities shutdown that in any other case would have began Tuesday, within the midst of the general public well being disaster.

However the end result will outline Trump’s GOP, placing a highlight on the Georgia runoff election Jan. 5 the place two Republican senators are within the fights of their political lives towards Democrats in a pair of races that may decide which social gathering controls the Senate subsequent 12 months.

Along with votes Monday and Tuesday to override Trump’s veto of a sweeping protection invoice, it is doubtlessly one final confrontation between the president and the Republican Celebration he leads as he imposes recent calls for and disputes the outcomes of the presidential election. The brand new Congress is about to be sworn in Sunday.

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the rating Republican on the Methods and Means Committee, acknowledged the division and stated Congress had already authorized ample funds in the course of the COVID-19 disaster. “Nothing on this invoice helps anyone get again to work,” he stated.

Apart from the direct $600 checks to most Individuals, the COVID-19 portion of the invoice revives a weekly pandemic jobless profit increase — this time $300, by way of March 14 — in addition to a well-liked Paycheck Safety Program of grants to companies to maintain staff on payrolls. It extends eviction protections, including a brand new rental help fund.

The COVID-19 package deal attracts and expands on an earlier effort from Washington. It provides billions of {dollars} for vaccine purchases and distribution, for virus contact tracing, public well being departments, faculties, universities, farmers, meals pantry applications and different establishments and teams dealing with hardship within the pandemic.

Individuals incomes as much as $75,000 will qualify for the direct $600 funds, that are phased out at larger revenue ranges, and there is an extra $600 cost per dependent youngster.

Meantime the federal government funding portion of the invoice retains federal businesses nationwide working with out dramatic modifications till Sept. 30.

President-elect Joe Biden informed reporters at an occasion in Wilmington, Delaware, that he supported the $2,000 checks.

Trump’s sudden resolution to signal the invoice got here as he confronted escalating criticism from lawmakers on all sides over his eleventh-hour calls for. The bipartisan invoice negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had already handed the Home and Senate by vast margins. Lawmakers had thought that they had Trump’s blessing after months of negotiations together with his administration.

The president’s defiant refusal to behave, publicized with a heated video he tweeted simply earlier than the Christmas vacation, sparked chaos, a lapse in unemployment advantages for tens of millions and the specter of a authorities shutdown within the pandemic. It was one other disaster of his personal making, resolved when he in the end signed the invoice into legislation.

In his assertion concerning the signing, Trump repeated his frustrations with the COVID-19 aid invoice for offering solely $600 checks to most Individuals and complained about what he thought-about pointless spending, notably on international help — a lot of it proposed by his personal price range.

Whereas the president insisted he would ship Congress “a redlined model” with spending gadgets he needs eliminated, these are merely recommendations to Congress. Democrats stated they might resist such cuts.

For now, the administration can solely start work sending out the $600 funds.

Most Home Republicans merely shrugged off Trump’s push, 130 of them voting to reject the upper checks that might pile $467 billion in extra prices. One other 20 Home Republicans — together with Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy of California, a Trump confidant — skipped the vote, regardless of pandemic procedures that permit lawmakers to vote by proxy to keep away from journey to the Capitol. McCarthy was recovering at residence from elbow surgical procedure, his workplace stated.

A day after the signing, Trump was again on the golf course in Florida, the state the place he’s anticipated to maneuver after Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.


Colvin reported from West Palm Seaside, Florida. Related Press author Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

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