The House passed a $2,000 stimulus checks replacement to the $600 direct payments that were included in the recently-enacted $900 billion stimulus bill. The increase was demanded by President Trump but is unlikely to advance in the GOP-controlled Senate.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 275 to 134 on Monday to pass the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help Act (CASH) Act. The legislation would increase the amount of the direct payments included in the $900 billion stimulus deal from $600 to $2,000 and expand the additional bonus for dependents from each dependent under 17 to each dependent of any age.
“The President of the United States has put this forth as something that he wants to see and part of his signing the legislation yesterday,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on the House floor before Monday’s vote. “I hope that view will be shared by the Republicans in the Senate.”
Last week, President Trump criticized the stimulus checks under the current legislation, “asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple.”
In Sunday’s signing statement, the president asserted that the Senate “will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000,” among other demands. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) applauded the president’s signing of the legislation but did not mention any of the president’s demands.
‘The only impact may be on the runoff races in Georgia’
The House passing the legislation “practically means nothing,” Mark Harkins, a former congressional staffer and senior fellow at Georgetown’s Government Affairs Institute, told Yahoo Money. “Leader McConnell has shown zero interest in bringing forward this type of assistance as many Republicans believe there are better ways to target this level of funding.”
That said, the popular provision may be relevant to the two upcoming Senate runoff races in Georgia.
“The only impact may be on the runoff races in Georgia, as the Republican candidates now need to explain to the tens of thousands of unemployed and hungry in Georgia why the Republican leadership in the Senate is blocking this aid,” Harkins noted.
The $900 billion coronavirus relief bill included $600 stimulus checks, extended two federal unemployment programs, provided an additional $300 in weekly jobless benefits, and added another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses.
Replacing the $600 stimulus checks with $2,000 ones would add around $300 billion to the $900 billion stimulus package signed by the president on Sunday. A $2,000 stimulus check provision would cost around $464 billion, according to The Joint Committee on Taxation compared with the $600 stimulus checks which have a $166 billion price tag, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Also included is funding for vaccine distribution and schools, $25 billion in rental assistance, an extension of the eviction moratorium, $13 billion in food assistance, and $7 billion to increase access to broadband.