Democrats have seized on Trump’s 11th-hour complaint over the direct payments in a bid to push congressional Republicans to accept a higher amount, forcing GOP lawmakers to decide whether or not to defy the President after many have argued that the overall cost for a stimulus package should not rise too high.
A Republican leadership aide told CNN that while the Republican side is not whipping the bill, “there’s a good chance it can pass.” It’s far from certain, but aides are warning it’s possible.
“The President must immediately call on congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000, which will be brought to the Floor tomorrow,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Sunday evening after Trump signed the stimulus legislation.
“Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need,” Pelosi said.
If the bill actually passes the House of Representatives with a strong Republican vote, it will put McConnell in a tough position of having to decide whether to bring the provision to the floor in the Senate as a standalone bill. While the President has been urging Republicans to up the payments, many Republicans in McConnell’s ranks have made it clear they don’t think an increase is warranted given how much it would increase the price tag of the stimulus bill. A vote on the checks would likely divide the GOP conference and force some members to endure Trump’s ire in his final days in office.
Eligibility for the checks is determined by a person’s most recent tax returns. Anyone who made under $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a couple would receive the full amount. The amount individuals receive decreases by $5 for every $100 a person makes over $75,000. In short, that means that individuals who make over $99,000 would not be eligible nor would couples making more than $198,000.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.