$2,000 Stimulus Checks Gain Momentum as Republicans, Democrats Press for New Vote

After President Donald Trump signed a COVID-19 stimulus package into law on Sunday night, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle immediately pressed for a new vote to get $2,000 checks to Americans amid the worsening pandemic.

Trump repeatedly criticized the $900 billion bipartisan stimulus bill and a $1.4 trillion spending bill after both chambers of Congress passed the measures earlier this week following several months of stalled negotiations. The president opposed the deal, calling it a "disgrace," for only including a "measly $600" in direct payments. "I simply want to get our great people $2000," he tweeted Saturday. But he backed down on Sunday and signed the bill from his Mar-a-Lago estate, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown.

The president said Republicans have agreed to a new vote on $2,000 stimulus checks. "On Monday, the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000," he wrote in a statement announcing his decision. "Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200."

Some GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in pushing the vote for $2,000 stimulus checks on Sunday. Others have already expressed opposition to boosting direct payments, indicating that the party could break with Trump on the record in the coming days.

AOC and Bernie Sanders stand together
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders stand together during his campaign event on February 10, 2020. Joe Raedle/Getty

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump loyalist who publicly supported larger payments after spending time with the president at his Florida golf club on Christmas, applauded the signing. "Congress will vote on additional stimulus checks and repealing Section 230—all wins for the American people," he tweeted. "Well done Mr. President!"

"@realDonaldTrump tonight says Senate leadership has promised votes on bills to increase the #covid relief payments to $2000 for working people AND to terminate #Section230. Let's vote!" said GOP Congressman Josh Hawley of Missouri.

Most Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mitch McConnell, have remained silent on Trump's sudden demand to fatten the checks. Democrats and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, urged Trump to convince Republicans to back the measure on Sunday.

"Finally. Now, Trump must get Mitch McConnell and his Republican friends in the Senate to pass legislation to provide $2,000 in direct payments to the working class," Sanders tweeted.

Progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez echoed Sanders' remark. "Great, now he can sign @RashidaTlaib and I's amendment to bring the $600 checks to $2k," she tweeted.

"The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks. Then I will move to pass it in the Senate. No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted.

It remains to be seen whether Senate Republicans will pass the $2,000 direct payments. On Thursday, House Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats in the lower chamber to unanimously pass $2,000 checks, an expected move as opposition from fiscally conservative lawmakers had initially limited the payments to $600—half the $1,200 amount provided for Americans under the CARES Act earlier this year.

McConnell applauded Trump's "decision to get hundreds of billions of dollars of crucial COVID-19 relief out the door and into the hands of American families" on Sunday evening, but did not mention the new vote.

Newsweek reached out to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for further comment.