Destiny of Trump’s $2,000 checks now rests with GOP-led Senate

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The result is very unsure heading into Tuesday’s session. Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell has declined to publicly tackle how he plans to deal with the problem. However Democrats, sharing a uncommon precedence with Trump, have seized on the chance to drive Republicans right into a troublesome vote of both backing or defying the outgoing president.

After bipartisan approval by the Home, Senate Democratic chief Chuck Schumer warned, “There isn’t any good purpose for Senate Republicans to face in the best way.”

“There’s sturdy assist for these $2,000 emergency checks from each nook of the nation,” Schumer mentioned in an announcement late Monday. He known as on McConnell to ensure the Senate helps “meet the wants of American employees and households who’re crying out for assist.”

As Trump spent days fuming from his non-public membership in Florida, the place he’s spending the vacations, dozens of Republicans calculated it was higher to hyperlink with Democrats to extend the pandemic stipend fairly than buck the outgoing president and constituents relying on the cash. Democrats led passage, 275-134, however 44 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in approval.

Senators had been set to return to session Tuesday amid comparable, stark GOP divisions between those that align with Trump’s populist instincts and others who adhere to what had been extra conventional conservative views in opposition to authorities spending. Congress had settled on smaller $600 funds in a compromise over the large year-end reduction invoice Trump reluctantly signed into legislation.

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Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, “Republicans have a alternative: Vote for this laws or vote to disclaim the American individuals the larger paychecks they want.”

The showdown might find yourself as extra image than substance if Trump’s effort fizzles out within the Senate.

The legislative motion in the course of the uncommon vacation week session could do little to alter the $2 trillion-plus COVID-19 reduction and federal spending package deal Trump signed into legislation Sunday, one of many largest payments of its form offering reduction for hundreds of thousands of Individuals.

That package deal — $900 billion in COVID-19 assist and $1.4 trillion to fund authorities businesses — will ship long-sought money to companies and people and avert a federal authorities shutdown that in any other case would have began Tuesday, within the midst of the general public well being disaster.

However the end result will outline Trump’s GOP, placing a highlight on the Georgia runoff election Jan. 5 the place two Republican senators are within the fights of their political lives in opposition to Democrats in a pair of races that can decide which social gathering controls the Senate subsequent yr.

Along with votes Monday and Tuesday to override Trump’s veto of a sweeping protection invoice, it is probably one final confrontation between the president and the Republican Celebration he leads as he imposes recent calls for and disputes the outcomes of the presidential election. The brand new Congress is about to be sworn in Sunday.

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the rating Republican on the Methods and Means Committee, acknowledged the division and mentioned Congress had already authorised ample funds in the course of the COVID-19 disaster. “Nothing on this invoice helps anyone get again to work,” he mentioned.

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Other than the direct $600 checks to most Individuals, the COVID-19 portion of the invoice revives a weekly pandemic jobless profit increase — this time $300, by means of March 14 — in addition to a well-liked Paycheck Safety Program of grants to companies to maintain employees on payrolls. It extends eviction protections, including a brand new rental help fund.

The COVID-19 package deal attracts and expands on an earlier effort from Washington. It provides billions of {dollars} for vaccine purchases and distribution, for virus contact tracing, public well being departments, colleges, universities, farmers, meals pantry applications and different establishments and teams going through hardship within the pandemic.

Individuals incomes as much as $75,000 will qualify for the direct $600 funds, that are phased out at greater revenue ranges, and there is an extra $600 fee per dependent baby.

Meantime the federal government funding portion of the invoice retains federal businesses nationwide operating with out dramatic adjustments till Sept. 30.

President-elect Joe Biden instructed reporters at an occasion in Wilmington, Delaware, that he supported the $2,000 checks.

Trump’s sudden choice to signal the invoice got here as he confronted escalating criticism from lawmakers on all sides over his eleventh-hour calls for. The bipartisan invoice negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had already handed the Home and Senate by large margins. Lawmakers had thought that they had Trump’s blessing after months of negotiations along with his administration.

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In his assertion concerning the signing, Trump repeated his frustrations with the COVID-19 reduction invoice for offering solely $600 checks to most Individuals and complained about what he thought-about pointless spending, significantly on international assist — a lot of it proposed by his personal funds.

Whereas the president insisted he would ship Congress “a redlined model” with spending gadgets he desires eliminated, these are merely ideas to Congress. Democrats mentioned they’d resist such cuts.

For now, the administration can solely start work sending out the $600 funds.

Most Home Republicans merely shrugged off Trump’s push, 130 of them voting to reject the upper checks that may pile $467 billion in extra prices. One other 20 Home Republicans — together with Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy of California, a Trump confidant — skipped the vote, regardless of pandemic procedures that enable lawmakers to vote by proxy to keep away from journey to the Capitol. McCarthy was recovering at residence from elbow surgical procedure, his workplace mentioned.

A day after the signing, Trump was again on the golf course in Florida, the state the place he’s anticipated to maneuver after Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

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Colvin reported from West Palm Seashore, Florida. Related Press author Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

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