By: Sam Cohen
WASHINGTON — Now that President Donald Trump has signed a government spending bill that includes $900 billion for COVID-19 relief, members of the House of Representatives will vote on a standalone measure Monday to increase the amount Americans get in direct payments as part of that package.
The relief package, which took months to negotiate, includes up to $600 in direct payments to individuals.
After being in limbo for several days, the president finally signed the bill Sunday night, after the House and Senate passed it Tuesday.
The president initially called the bill, which includes the federal government spending bill that funds the government for the next fiscal year in addition to COVID-19 relief measures, a “disgrace” in a video posted to Twitter last week. He called on Congress to increase the amount of money Americans received in direct payments.
In response to his signature on the bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released a statement welcoming the news as it helps millions of Americans “struggling to stay afloat.”
“Now, the President must immediately call on Congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct-payment checks to $2,000,” the statement reads. “Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need.”
Before going on a break for Christmas, the House quickly tried to pass an increase in direct payments in a process called unanimous consent. However, a Republican representative raised a competing measure, which meant the effort failed.
At the time, Pelosi issued a statement that the House would be back in session on Monday, “where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000.”
As for when Americans could start seeing those checks, no matter what size they are, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week it would take about a week to process them once the details are finalized.