Congress to pass deal with $600 stimulus checks
A pared-down second round of stimulus checks is included in a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief deal announced by congressional leadership on Sunday night.
The agreement, announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the floor, includes a $600 check for individuals who make up to $75,000 per year.
Though it’s the same income cap included in the March CARES Act, the amount of the check is half of the $1,200 for individuals that was included in the earlier bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the details of the agreement on stimulus checks early Sunday evening. In addition to a $600 check for individuals, the deal also provides a $600 check per child.
The decision to include stimulus checks comes after a second round of direct payments was left out of a deal unveiled earlier this month by a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers as well as a separate GOP-only proposal circulated by McConnell.
But there was support for another round of checks on both sides of the aisle. House progressives pushed for their inclusion, and Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) teamed up to try to get the second round to match the $1,200 included in the March bill.
Hawley called inclusion of the $600 check “hardly adequate” but also a “step in the right direction.”
“The fact that we can spend so much on every other priority under the sun tells you where the, sadly, where the priorities are in Congress,” he told reporters. “But I do want to see relief go to working families. So I’m likely to support this on that basis and pretty much on that basis alone.”
President Trump pushed on Twitter for more direct payments, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of the president, predicted that he would ultimately accept the $600 amount.
“He’s OK with the direct payments,” Graham said of Trump. “He’d probably do more.”
McConnell pointed to the president as the reason the checks were included.
“At the particular request and emphasis of President Trump and his administration, our agreement will provide another round of direct impact payments to help households make ends meet and continue our economic recovery,” he said.