The U.S. House of Representatives passed the CASH Act on Monday, aimed at increasing coronavirus relief payments from $600 to $2,000, thereby kicking the legislation to the Senate, which needs 60 votes to make the increase — pushed by President Donald Trump — a reality.
Upon announcing he would sign the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government spending bill Sunday, Trump demanded Congress eliminate wasteful spending and increase the amount of the direct payments going to the American people.
The House successfully passed the legislation 275-134, though most Republicans voted against it — 130 compared to the 44 who supported it. Twenty-one Republican lawmakers did not vote and all but two Democrats supported the measure. Reps. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) opposed it.
Schrader referred to the measure as a “last-minute political maneuver by the president and extremists on both sides of the political spectrum who have been largely absent during months of very hard negotiations.”
“People who are making six-figure incomes (and) have not been impacted by COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus], do not need checks. We’ve had nine months to fix this program, to get it to people who need it most, that has not happened,” he said on the House floor.
“Let’s reverse course and target those in need,” he added.
His remarks drew ire from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who noted the amount “starts phasing out at $75k”:
1st of all, aid starts phasing out at $75k
2. it’s already tied to outdated income info, don’t make it worse
3. Ppl who made $100k+ also had income disrupted
4. Is this really a good reason to block aid for millions
5. If you’re going to err, err on the side of helping people https://t.co/tBSuR99WLN
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 28, 2020
Regardless of the opposition in the House, the measure now moves to the Senate, where leadership has remained relatively mum on increasing direct payments to the American people. The measure needs sixty votes in the Senate to pass, requiring support from at least 12 Republican lawmakers.
There is chatter that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will “block consideration of the NDAA veto override until Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL schedules a vote on the $2,000 check bill,” according to Politico’s Playbook. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is among GOP lawmakers who remain explicitly on board with increasing the amount of individual stimulus checks, releasing an official statement Monday.
A “Republican source” reportedly told Axios that “it might get 60” votes if McConnell brings it to the floor. “Then Trump can claim victory,” the GOP source added.