Christmas Eve $2,000 stimulus check push fizzles out in the House


House Republicans on Thursday blocked a last-minute Christmas Eve push from Democrats to rush through $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans.

Democrats returned the favor by shooting down the GOP‘s push to revisit the level of foreign aid included in the massive spending package they passed earlier in the week.

The tit for tat in the House played out after President Trump threw into doubt the $2.3 trillion spending deal — comprising $1.4 trillion in regular federal government spending for 2021 and $900 billion in COVID-19 relief — that landed on his desk this week.

Mr. Trump‘s criticism of the deal has fueled fears over a possible government shutdown and expiring pandemic protections.

Democrats had hoped to rush through bigger stimulus checks after Mr. Trump said this week that the $600 checks included in the coronavirus relief package were far too small.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans should heed Mr. Trump‘s demand.

“Today, on Christmas Eve morning, House Republicans cruelly deprived the American people of the $2,000 that the President agreed to support,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “If the President is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction.”

Mrs. Pelosi said the fight over stimulus checks was not over, vowing to hold a vote Monday in the House.

“To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need,” she said.

Mr. Trump surprised lawmakers this week when he said the spending package — which Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin helped carve out — is a “disgrace.”

Mr. Trump said lawmakers should eliminate the “wasteful” spending in the proposal and said they should increase the stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600.

The president, however, did not indicate whether he would veto the spending package, which, among other things, would extend unemployment benefits set to expire Saturday and keep the government funded past Monday.

Sen. Roy Blunt told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday, “The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill.”

“I still hope that’s what he decides to do,” the Missouri Republican said.

Mr. Blunt also said he doesn’t think the push for $2,000 stimulus checks could garner the 60 votes needed to survive the GOP-controlled Senate.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, on Thursday sought to pass his party’s check plan via a unanimous consent request, which requires no objections from any member of the House.

Before the House session, it was clear the effort was doomed to fail.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to his GOP colleagues Wednesday that said Democrats “appear to be suffering from selective hearing.”

“They have conveniently ignored the concerns expressed by the President, and shared by our constituents, that we ought to reexamine how our tax dollars are being spent overseas while so many of our neighbors at home are struggling to make ends meet,” the California Republican said.

Rep. Rob Wittman, Virginia Republican, objected to the Democrats‘ proposal Thursday and countered with a unanimous consent request that focused on revisiting foreign aid in the spending deal. It also failed.

“The UC request I put forward today to revisit the State and Foreign Operations title of the Consolidated Appropriations Act was offered in an effort to reexamine spending and address concerns of President Trump at a time when many believe that taxpayer dollars should go towards helping Americans most affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Wittman said in a statement.

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