Members of the progressive “Squad” in the House on Thursday introduced their own bill to send $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans after President Trump this week demanded the $600 checks included in Congress’ stimulus deal be increased to that number.
The legislation was spearheaded by Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; and Pramila Jayapal D-Wash. It came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will meet on Monday to vote on stand-alone legislation for $2,000 stimulus checks.
“This holiday season, families are being forced to make incredibly difficult decisions, such as whether they should keep their lights on or buy groceries,” Tlaib said in a statement. “Providing $2,000 survival checks would give those struggling right now a lifeline as we continue to fight to defeat COVID-19. It’s time for Trump to stop bluffing and get the members of his party in line so that the government can provide this long-overdue relief to people across the country during this time of great need.”
The bill from the “Squad” members is different from a separate bill introduced by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., that would do essentially the same thing. Neal’s bill would simply change the numbers in the coronavirus stimulus bill to say $2,000 instead of $600, and would only come into effect if the stimulus and government funding package Congress recently sent to the president is signed into law. The printed legislation was flown to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump is spending Christmas.
The “Squad” bill however is independent of the rest of the stimulus and directly amends the Internal Revenue Code’s wording as it stands currently after the stimulus Congress passed earlier this year. Therefore that bill could be enacted on its own.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, “I would be surprised if we dealt with” a Democrat push for $2,000 checks.
Democrats will vote on Monday after 3 p.m. on bigger stimulus checks and will also vote to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act. House Republicans blocked a Democrat effort to provide the $2,000 checks on the floor Thursday.
Democrats, meanwhile, blocked a GOP effort to address the other part of Trump’s twofold objections to the government spending package – foreign aid. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., accused Democrats of having “selective hearing” for only wanting to address the checks and not the foreign aid.
Trump’s apparent decision not to sign the massive coronavirus stimulus and government funding package that lawmakers sent to him puts the government at risk of shutting down yet again.