WRIC, BEN DENNIS
Americans are slated to start receiving $600 pandemic stimulus payments as soon as Tuesday night. But, ongoing debate among Republicans in the U.S. Senate paint an uncertain future for payments to be increased to $2,000, despite President Trump’s backing.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Twitter Tuesday, checks will begin rolling out to qualifying citizens into next week, after President Trump’s signature Sunday night made the stimulus measure law—although Mr. Trump pushed for an amendment to raise payments to $2,000.
The bill, which included extended unemployment aid, was a consolidation of COVID-19 relief measures, plus an omnibus spending bill for the government that included aid to foreign countries.
Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) explained her take on the decision to consolidate.
“I don’t necessarily think that there was a strong argument to do it other than perhaps the end of the year efforts to ensure both those bills went through, and were signed into law. You know, but I think the unfortunate piece is that it has caused a lot of confusion,” Spanberger told 8News.
As that measure was forwarded to the White House, Spanberger and other Democrats like Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-04) sided with Trump’s insistence to increase direct payments to $2,000.
But Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declined to introduce the bill on the Senate floor, after passing the House with Republican support.
“In the House of Representatives we saw significant bipartisan support for additional stimulus checks to go out to Americans, and the fact that within the Senate they won’t even get to take that vote, at least not yet, is deeply disappointing,” Spanberger said.
In a statement, McEachin said, in part, that he urges the Senate to join the House “in voting quickly to increase direct relief payments to $2,000 and put more money in the pockets of Virginians impacted by this pandemic.”
McConnell’s stop to introduce the House relief bill doesn’t end the chance $2,000 dollar payments may head to Americans. The Senate’s top Republican has since introduced a bill raising direct payments and includes provisions unrelated to the pandemic response.