The House rejected a bill Thursday morning that would alter a Congress-approved coronavirus relief package to raise direct payments to many Americans from $600 to $2,000, leaving the legislation in limbo after President Trump’s 11th-hour interjection to push for the increase.
House Democrats, many of whom agreed with Trump that payments should be $2,000 per individual and $4,000 a couple, sought to pass the measure by unanimous consent, attempting to snooker the chamber’s GOP members into approving the president’s call for the larger payouts.
But the move was rebuffed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican.
Republicans instead proposed to remove foreign aid from a $2.3 trillion government spending bill passed Monday night by Congress that includes the pandemic relief funds, but Democrats blocked that move. The amount of funding for foreign countries was another of Trump’s gripes about the spending bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said her party will attempt to pass the bill for the payout increase with a straight vote Monday.
“Hopefully by then the president will have already signed the bipartisan and bicameral legislation to keep the government open and to deliver coronavirus relief,” she said in a statement, CNN reported.
The $2.3 trillion bill included $900 billion for the latest coronavirus relief package, which allots $600 stimulus checks for single people making less than $75,000 and couples making less than $150,000 — far smaller than the first round of checks issued in the spring, when individuals and couples received up to $1,200 and $2,400, respectively.
Trump has seized on the smaller amount, threatening Tuesday to reject the bill if the “ridiculously low” $600 direct payment doesn’t go up.
The deadline for the overall government spending bill expires Monday at midnight, which could result in a government shutdown amid the ongoing pandemic.