Progressives Claim Credit for Second Stimulus Check Despite White House, GOP Support

Progressive lawmakers took credit for the second round of direct stimulus payments on Sunday night after it was revealed that the long-awaited second COVID-19 relief package would include $600 checks for millions of Americans.

The Democratic representatives said that a "principled stand" from their caucus led to the checks being included in the new $900 billion stimulus deal, despite the fact some Republicans also joined calls for a second round of direct relief payments.

Appearing on MSNBC last night, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said: "I chair the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and there were loud, loud cries for direct relief. Checks in people's pockets, money in people's pockets, unemployment assistance that has continued.

"Those things are in this bill, where they weren't just 72 hours before. And that is because we took a very principled stand that this bill had to include that."

Posting on social media, her colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) added: "Two weeks ago, direct payments were not even on the table. We organized nearly 60 House members to demand them and Bernie Sanders did the same in the Senate. When we retire Mitch, we can organize and deliver on the demands of people."

Although the progressive lawmakers claimed the inclusion of stimulus checks in the latest relief bill as a victory for their caucus, the White House and some Republican senators have also been forceful about the need for a second round of direct payments.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) worked with Sen. Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate to push for $1,200 stimulus checks to be included in the next relief bill—matching the size of the checks provided under the CARES Act nine months ago.

When the pair tabled an amendment to send $1,200 to millions of Americans earlier this month, their efforts were blocked by the GOP's Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Reacting to the $600 checks set to be included in the coming stimulus deal, Hawley tweeted: "The COVID-19 relief bill contains direct assistance to working people. That's a step forward. But it's not nearly enough. Congress must start putting American workers first."

In July, a handful of Republican senators proposed a second round of direct checks worth $1,000 to alleviate the pressure felt by millions amid high unemployment and mounting arrears. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Steve Daines (R-MT) were among the backers of the plan.

President Donald Trump has also repeatedly signaled that he would sign off a second round of stimulus checks larger than the $600 payments proposed under the deal reached by Republican and Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.

The Washington Post reported last week that the commander-in-chief had to be talked down from demanding the next round of stimulus checks be larger than the proposed $600, perhaps as high as $2,000.

"If I am sent a Stand Alone Bill for Stimulus Checks ($1,200), they will go out to our great people IMMEDIATELY," Trump tweeted in October. "I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?"

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also included a provision for $600 stimulus checks in the White House's $916 billion stimulus offer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier this month.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal told MSNBC said stimulus checks were in the bill because of a "principled stand" from progressives. Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images