House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday asked Republican Party leader Kevin McCarthy to join her in supporting coronavirus stimulus checks – which would raise them to $ 2,000 – because of a last-minute demand President Trump.
Trump, in a video posted on Twitter late on Tuesday, demanded that lawmakers change the coronavirus stimulus package approved on Monday to include checks for $ 2,000 to individuals instead of checks for $ 600, while he also insisted that “unnecessary and unnecessary” items be cut from the year-end spending package that accompanies pandemic aid.
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Pelosi and the Democrats also wanted much higher stimulus checks, but agreed to the $ 600 figure in bipartisan negotiations with their Republican colleagues. Therefore, Trump’s sudden interest in dramatically increasing checks was an offer that Pelosi quickly accepted. “Lets do this!” she tweeted.
Pelosi wants to bring an independent piece of legislation to the House floor on Thursday morning to increase the value of the stimulus check in time for Christmas, challenging the Republicans.
“To do this, you need the agreement of the Republican leader,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats on Wednesday. “This deal is necessary in the House and the Senate. If the President really wants to join us in payments of $ 2,000, he must ask leader McCarthy to agree to our request for unanimous consent.”
In addition to McCarthy’s blessing, the effort would also need broader support. Unlike a traditional roll-call vote, a member of Congress could object to the House floor to prevent an attempt to unanimously approve the measure.
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If that last effort is passed in the House, it will still need Senate approval.
Pelosi criticized Trump’s last-minute antics when he was absent from bipartisan negotiations with her and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer.
“Just when you think you saw everything last night, the president said he would possibly veto the bicameral deal negotiated between Republicans and Democrats,” Pelosi wrote to House Democrats.
“… In bipartisan negotiations, leader Schumer and I repeatedly asked Republicans what would be the highest number the president would accept for direct payments, and they responded with a silence similar to that of the Sphinx. In negotiations, they would never exceed $ 600 and in some cases, proposed $ 500. “
The $ 600 payments cost about $ 167 billion. Increasing checks to $ 2,000 would increase the cost of the account by $ 370 billion, Ernie Tedeschi, an economist and former Treasury Department employee in the Obama administration, told The Washington Post.
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Schumer also pressured Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to accept the bigger checks that Trump says he needs to approve the $ 900 billion coronavirus relief.
– I’m in. What did you say, Mitch? Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., tweeted.
McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment on what the Senate can do in light of Trump’s video on Monday. He and other Republican lawmakers announced the stimulus deal as a triumph on Monday and Tuesday, before Trump called it a “disgrace”.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.