- President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to pass a stimulus bill in a tweet Saturday night, calling for Americans to receive “more money in direct payments.”
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier in the day that congress could vote on a $US900 billion stimulus package as early as Sunday. The bill is expected to include $US600 stimulus checks.
- Other lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Josh Hawley, and 17 House Democrats have also called for larger checks.
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President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to pass a stimulus bill in a tweet Saturday night. He also called for Americans to receive more money in the latest round of stimulus checks.
“Why isn’t Congress giving our people a Stimulus Bill? It wasn’t their fault, it was the fault of China,” he said, in reference to the coronavirus pandemic. “GET IT DONE, and give them more money in direct payments.”
Before Trump’s tweet, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that both chambers of Congress could vote on a $US900 billion stimulus package as early as Sunday, as lawmakers were close to making a deal.
Congressional leaders ended up striking a long-awaited deal on Sunday afternoon, though a vote in both chambers are scheduled for Monday. The package will include $US600 stimulus checks for most Americans, similar to the $US1,200 checks that were sent out earlier this year as part of the first round of coronavirus relief.
White House aides reportedly talked Trump out of asking for $US2,000 direct payments for Americans, for fear it could disrupt negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.
Trump said he wanted the payments to be “at least” $US1,200 and perhaps as large as $US2,000, The Washington Post reported. The president also indicated during a Fox News interview last week that he wanted to see stimulus checks with “more money than they’re talking about.”
However, Trump is reportedly onboard with the stimulus deal and will sign it once it reaches his desk, though it includes a fraction of the direct payment amount he wanted.
Lawmakers in both parties have called for larger direct payments. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, and Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, pushed for another round of $US1,200 checks.
Progressive Democrats especially have urged for more money, with a group of 17 representatives calling on congressional leaders to include $US2,000 checks in the next relief package.
On Friday, Rep. Ayanna Pressley criticised the $US600 stimulus checks, instead calling them “survival checks.” In an interview on MSNBC, she said “600 dollars does not even cover one month’s rent.”
In addition to the stimulus checks, the latest coronavirus relief package is expected to include $US300 federal unemployment benefits, funds for vaccine distribution, and small business aid.
Democrats emphasised during a press conference on Sunday that they will press for more federal aid once President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Earlier this month, Biden said he supported the inclusion of direct payments for Americans in the lame-duck stimulus package.
“The whole purpose of this is we’ve got to make sure people aren’t thrown out of their apartments, lose their homes, are able to have unemployment insurance they can continue to feed their families on as we grow back the economy,” Biden said.
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