Schumer to try to pass $2K stimulus checks bill Tuesday

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will try to pass legislation on Tuesday to increase the amount of the stimulus checks included in a recently signed coronavirus package from $600 to $2,000.

Schumer’s effort, which he announced on Monday night, comes after the House passed the legislation in a bipartisan 275-134 vote, kicking the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate.

“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 said in a statement.

“There’s strong support for these $2,000 emergency checks from every corner of the country — Leader 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,” he added.

Under the Senate’s rules, any one member can try to pass or vote on a bill, but because it requires the cooperation of the entire chamber, any one senator can also block the request.

No Republican senator has yet said they will object to Schumer’s efforts to pass the House bill through the Senate. But the Democratic leader is expected to fall short after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) blocked two attempts earlier this month to pass a second round of $1,200 checks.

The support for raising the amount of direct assistance included as part of the $2.3 trillion package — which includes $1.4 trillion to fund the government and $900 billion for coronavirus relief — has gained steam since President Trump urged Congress to increase the amount of the stimulus checks included in the deal from $600 to $2,000.

The agreement provided a $600 check to individuals who make up to $75,000 per year, after which the amount of the checks starts to phase out.

Immediately after Trump issued the video last week demanding the $2,000 checks while trashing other parts of the agreement, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed the idea and began trying to build pressure on Republicans to back the effort.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also came out in support of increasing the amount of the payments earlier Monday.

“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.”

But the idea of higher stimulus checks has sparked fierce pushback from some congressional Republicans who point to the country’s debt or concerns that many Americans will save the money instead of putting it back into the economy.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, told reporters late last week that he did not believe a proposal to provide a $2,000 direct payment could pass the GOP-controlled Senate, where it will ultimately need 60 votes to pass.

Trump, as part of his statement announcing he would sign the $2.3 trillion deal, said that the Senate would “start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.”

A statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday night made no mention of the legislative commitments referenced by Trump, and the GOP leader has not yet announced plans to bring up a proposal that would increase the amount of the direct payments.

Tags Charles Schumer Coronavirus COVID-19 direct payments Donald Trump Marco Rubio Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Ron Johnson Roy Blunt stimulus checks

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