One day after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill into law, the House of Representatives voted to increase direct payments to most Americans from $600 to $2,000 per person.
The bill had wide Democratic support, but failed to capture a majority of Republicans. The bill passed with just over two thirds of the House voting in approval.
The vote won the Democratic caucus by a 231-2 margin, Republicans voted 44-130 and independents voted 0-2.
The legislation now goes to the US Senate, where its future is in question. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who largely controls what legislation gets to the floor, has been mum on whether he’ll allow the CASH Act to get a vote.
Some Republicans in the Senate appear ready to back the proposal.
Watch senators debate the need to raise payments below:
“I share many of my colleagues’ concern about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said. “Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.”
Last week, Trump originally hinted he would not be supportive of signing the stimulus bill without changes. But with millions losing unemployment benefits and a number of hard-hit industries suffering, Trump signed the bill.
Meanwhile, Democrats pounced on the opportunity to increase stimulus payments to $2,000, a proposal that some Democrats called for early on in the pandemic.
As it stands now, most Americans making less than $75,000 a year will receive a $600 check ($1,200 for couples making under $150,000 a year).
"Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted minutes after Trump’s call for $2,000 checks. "At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!"
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer similarly took aim at the president on Twitter.
"We spent months trying to secure $2,000 checks but Republicans blocked it," Schumer tweeted.
Until two weeks ago, direct payments were not part of the stimulus plan. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the time direct payments were "dead," and was focused on getting funds for the Paycheck Protection Program and enhanced unemployment passed. The varying levels of support for direct payments were enigmatic of the quarrels between the White House, House Democrats and Senate Republicans.
If the proposal to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 is signed, the overall cost of the stimulus bill would go from $900 billion to $1.36 trillion, according to House data released on Monday.