The second stimulus check moved closer to rising from $600 to $2,000 after the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of an increase.
The measure, which is separate from the main relief bill President Trump signed into law on Sunday, now faces uncertainty in the Senate following the vote late on Monday – though Democrats have vowed to bring it to the floor.
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President Trump had signed the relief bill despite arguing that the $600 stimulus check amount it included was too low, and should be raised to $2,000. This prompted House Democrats to push for the new measure, which passed the lower chamber in a 275-134 vote.
It’s unclear, however, whether Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell will bring the measure to the floor — and if he did, whether enough Republicans would vote in favor for it to pass. McConnell made no mention of attempting to increase the payment amount in his statement on Trump’s relief bill signing, and Senate Republicans may find themselves stuck between loyalty to the President — an unlikely ally to the Democrats in supporting $2,000 checks — and previously expressed beliefs that the cost of any stimulus measures should not grow higher.
Democrats, meanwhile, have committed to forcing the vote. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have both demanded a Senate floor vote, and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has threatened to veto a separate vote (on overriding Trump’s veto of the recent defense spending bill) unless a vote on $2,000 checks takes place.
Whatever happens will need to happen quickly, as the IRS has a January 15 deadline to send out direct payments. As it stands, American taxpayers who reported an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 on their 2019 tax returns will receive $600; this is the amount that could potentially increase, should the Senate hold a favorable vote. The head of a household making up to $112,500, or couples who make up to $150,000 a year, will also receive a check for $1,200 under the current relief bill. Parents may also receive $600 for each dependent child.