Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday that the upper chamber will pass legislation that would increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 on Tuesday unless the move is blocked by Republicans.
Schumer’s remarks came shortly after House Democrats, joined by 44 of their Republican colleagues, passed the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act. President Donald Trump called checks to be increased last week, although he later signed legislation approving the lower amount. Democrats quickly agreed to pursue the higher amount. However, there has been some resistance to the move and it is not at all clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the rest of the GOP-controlled Senate will approve the measure.
“Tomorrow I will move to pass the legislation in the Senate to quickly deliver Americans with $2,000 emergency checks. Every Senate Democrat is for this much-needed increase in emergency financial relief, which can be approved tomorrow if no Republican blocks it—there is no good reason for Senate Republicans to stand in the way,” Schumer said, according to The Hill.
“There’s strong support for these $2,000 emergency checks from every corner of the country,” he added. “Leader McConnell ought to make sure Senate Republicans do not stand in the way of helping to meet the needs of American workers and families who are crying out for help.”
Although resistance to increasing the payment could scupper his plans, Schumer plans to force the Senate to vote on the legislation. Under the chamber’s rules, any one member can request a vote. However, approval would have to be unanimous for the maneuver to succeed, since any other member can also block the request.
If the chamber does vote on the measure, it could force Republican senators to choose between proving loyalty to Trump and their own party’s traditional reluctance to increase government spending due to conservative fiscal policies.
Given that Congress has not been unanimous in its support for stimulus checks of any amount, Schumer’s effort to force a vote is expected to fail. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has already blocked two efforts to provide $1,200 checks this month, insisting the amount was too high.
Support for the CASH Act was also far from unanimous in the House, passing on a vote of 275-134. The 130 House Republicans who voted against the increase were joined by two Independents and two Democrats who broke ranks, including Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), who told Newsweek that the measure was “a gratuitous political gesture that threatens our children’s future for short term political gain.”