California Beats Congress to Deliver Stimulus Checks, 5.7 Million Will Get Extra $600

California state legislators passed a bill approving $600 stimulus checks for nearly 5.7 million people on Monday. In doing so, they beat U.S. legislators who have not yet approved a plan for issuing $1,400 stimulus checks to U.S. residents in need.

California's checks are part of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom's $9.6 billion stimulus package meant to help the state recover from the COVID-related economic downturn. He and legislative leaders announced the package last Wednesday. Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law by Tuesday.

The $600 checks will be available to Californians who are eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC). Usually, such Californians earn less than $30,000 a year.

Another $600 check will be available to people who earn less than $75,000 a year and use an individual taxpayer identification number to file their taxes. This group includes people who don't have Social Security numbers, some of whom are immigrants and didn't receive the $1,200 federal relief payments sent in 2020, according to ABC News.

Some Californians will fall within both of these groups and, as such, will receive $1,200 total.

In a statement issued last Wednesday, Newsom said that the payments will be provided to these households shortly after they file their 2020 tax returns.

California $600 stimulus checks Newsom approved
On Monday, California state legislators passed a bill approving $600 stimulus checks for nearly 5.7 million people. In this January 5, 2006 photo, the sun shines on the state legislature building in Sacramento, California. David Paul Morris/Getty

Comparatively, the U.S. Congress is still in the process of considering the $1,400 stimulus checks that are part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

The checks themselves have become contentious among congressional lawmakers, with some Republicans calling the direct payments too costly.

On Friday, House Democrats released the full text of their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which included the $1,400 direct cash payments for Americans who qualify.

But in an email to Republican House representatives sent last week, House Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise of New Orleans urged party members to vote "no" to the bill. The bill is likely to be approved by the Democratic-led House regardless.

Though the plan lacks Republican support in the Senate, Democratic leaders have said they may use the budget reconciliation process to pass the bill without Republican support. Doing so would bypass the Senate filibuster and allow the bill to be passed with a simple majority vote.

House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Congress would pass the $1,400 checks "before the end of February." Biden said that the checks will arrive "as soon as Congress passes my legislation."

Newsweek contacted Newsom's office for comment.