The fate of Trump’s $ 2K checks now rests with the GOP-led senate

Trump signs massive government-funded measures, COVID relief

The House score was a wonderful turnaround. Just a few days ago, Republicans blocked Trump’s sudden demands for bigger checks during a short Christmas session because he defiantly refused to sign the broader COVID-19 bill on aid and year-end funding.

While Trump spent days away from his private club in Florida, where he spends his vacations, dozens of Republicans have calculated that it would be better to liaise with the Democrats to increase the allocation of the pandemic, rather than the outgoing president and voters to count on the money. Democrats lead through, 275-134, but 44 Republicans approved nearly all Democrats.

Senators would return to the session on Tuesday amid similar, strong IDP divisions between those who agree with Trump’s populist instincts and others who stick to what were more traditional conservative views on government spending. Congress decided on smaller $ 600 payments in a compromise over the big year-end bill that Trump reluctantly signed.

House President Nancy Pelosi said: “Republicans have a choice: vote for this legislation or vote to deny the American people the greater salaries they need.”

The showdown could end up as a bigger symbol than substance if Trump’s attempt in the Senate lapses.

The legislative action during the rare session for a rare holiday week can do little to change the $ 2 trillion plus COVID-19 relief and federal spending package signed by Trump on Sunday, one of the largest bills of its kind that millions Americans provide relief.

The package – $ 900 billion in COVID-19 aid and $ 1.4 billion to fund government agencies – will provide much-needed cash to businesses and individuals and a shutdown by the federal government that would begin on Tuesday amid the public health crisis. , prevent.

But the result will define Trump’s GOP and put a spotlight on the January 5 by-elections in Georgia, where two Republican senators are in a battle of their political lives against Democrats in several races that will determine which party the Senate control next year.

Along with votes Monday and Tuesday to dominate Trump’s veto of a comprehensive defense bill, it is likely a final confrontation between the president and the Republican Party he is leading as he makes new demands and disputes the outcome of the presidential election. The new congress will be sworn in on Sunday.

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged the split, saying Congress had already approved sufficient funds during the COVID-19 crisis. “Nothing in this bill helps anyone get back to work,” he said.

Aside from the $ 600 direct checks for most Americans, the COVID-19 portion of the bill revives a weekly pandemic jobless boost – this time $ 300 through March 14 – as well as a popular payroll protection program to businesses to keep workers. payroll. It expands eviction protections and adds a new fund for rental assistance.

The COVID-19 package pulls and expands on an earlier attempt by Washington. It offers billions of dollars for the purchase and distribution of vaccines, for detecting virus contact, public health departments, schools, universities, farmers, food pantry programs and other institutions and groups facing the pandemic.

Americans earning up to $ 75,000 qualify for the direct $ 600 payments, which are phased out at higher income levels, and there is an additional payment of $ 600 per dependent child.

Meanwhile, the government’s funding portion of the bill keeps federal agencies nationwide without dramatic changes until September 30th.

Elected President Joe Biden told reporters at an event in Wilmington, Delaware that he supported the $ 2000 checks.

Trump’s sudden decision to sign the bill came as he received increasing criticism from lawmakers over his eleventh-hour demands. The dual bill negotiated by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has already surpassed the House and Senate by large margins. Lawmakers thought they had Trump’s blessing after months of negotiations with his government.

The president’s provocative refusal to act, made public by a heated video he tweeted before the Christmas holidays, sparked chaos, a decline in millions of unemployment benefits and the threat of a government strike in the pandemic . It was another crisis of his own making, which was resolved when he finally signed the bill.

In his statement on the signing, Trump reiterated his frustrations over the COVID-19 relief bill to deliver only $ 600 checks to most Americans and complained about what he considered unnecessary spending, especially on foreign aid – many of which are suggested by his own budget.

Although the president has insisted that he send a new version of Congress with the spending of items he wants removed, these are only proposals to Congress. Democrats have said they will resist such cuts.

For the time being, the administration can only start sending out the $ 600 payments.

Most Republicans in the House simply took Trump’s pressure, and 130 of them voted to reject the higher checks, which would yield $ 467 billion in additional costs. Another 20 House Republicans – including California minority leader Kevin McCarthy, a confidant of Trump – skipped the vote, despite pandemic procedures allowing lawmakers to vote by proxy to avoid traveling to the Capitol. McCarthy has recovered from an elbow operation at home, his office said.

A day after the signing, Trump was back on the golf course in Florida, the state he is expected to move to after Biden was sworn in on January 20.