House Republicans on Thursday rejected an effort by House Democrats on Thursday to pass a bill to provide $2,000 stimulus checks — up from the $600 approved in a sweeping coronavirus relief and omnibus spending package earlier in the week.
According to The Hill, “Democrats offered the bill after President Trump raised objections to the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and omibus spending package approved by Congress on Monday.”
The president put Republicans on a difficult political spot by explicitly declaring that the $600 direct payments to Americans included in the bill “were too small,” calling for the checks to be $2,000.
Trump only raised his objections after the bill was approved by Congress, surprising members of both parties.
Democrats seized on the president’s words and offered the measure to boost the check size to $2,000 during the Christmas Eve session of the House by unanimous consent, arguing they also preferred the higher payments.
But Republicans rejected the bill by bringing up a competing measure to revisit the portion of the appropriations legislation that relates to foreign aid. Trump also criticized those provisions, which were included after a negotiation with Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who signed off on the deal.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who was presiding over the House, shot down both proposals on Thursday, which was expected.
She said that under House guidelines, legislation can’t be considered by unanimous consent unless there is the approval of bipartisan House floor and committee leadership.
In a letter sent to the Republican caucus, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) attempted to cast blame on Democrats for the chaos on the spending bill despite the president’s criticisms and the foreign aid being in his budget request.
“House Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing. They have conveniently ignored the concerns expressed by the President, and shared by our constituents, that we ought to reexamine how our tax dollars are spent overseas while so many of our neighbors at home are struggling to make ends meet,” the letter said.
“Thus, Republicans will offer a unanimous consent request to revisit the State and Foreign Operations title of the Omnibus so that we can fully address the concerns at hand. It will be up to Speaker Pelosi to decide if she wants to act on behalf of the American people.”
McCarthy told members on a call Wednesday he has spoken to the president and it remains unclear whether he will ultimately sign the coronavirus aid and spending package.