President Donald Trump on Sunday signed the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill into law after holding on to the legislation for nearly a week, hoping, he said, to get more money into Americans’ pockets.
Trump, who signed the bill that includes $600 checks for millions of American citizens, called the bill a “disgrace” in a video last week and urged lawmakers to raise the amount of the checks from $600 to $2,000.
In a statement issued after he signed the bill, Trump complained about the $600 checks to most Americans and slammed spending by the government at large.
“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Trump said in the statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Trump’s signing of the bill is “welcome news for the fourteen million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”
Pelosi went on to urge Republicans to support legislation that increases the amount of the direct payments to $2,000.
“Now, 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 (Monday),” Pelosi said in the statement.
“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.”
If the measure passes the House, it faces a tough road in the Senate where several members have expressed their opposition to giving any more money in direct payments.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, said he did not see the Senate taking up a bill that would increase payments to $2,000.
“I would be surprised if we dealt with it,” Blunt said last week. “It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think reopening that bill would be a mistake.”
The House tried last week to pass the bill by unanimous consent, but was blocked by Republican members.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, did not mention considering an increase in the direct payments in a statement released late Sunday.
“I applaud the President’s decision to get billions of dollars of crucial COVID-19 relief out the door and into the hands of American families. I am glad the American people will receive this much-needed assistance as our nation continues battling this pandemic.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” that “What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel. Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They’re going to be evicted from their apartments. There’s money in that bill.”
Who will get the $600 checks? The payments will basically follow the model used for the first payments and would work like this:
- The $600 will be going to “individual adults with adjusted gross income (AGI) of up to $75,000 a year based on 2019 earnings.”
- Heads of households who earn up to $112,500 and a couple who make up to $150,000 a year would also be eligible.
- Eligible families with dependent children under the age of 17 would also receive an additional $600 per child.
So, if you are a couple filing jointly who make less than $150,000 a year and have two children who are younger than 17, you are eligible for a $2,400 check.
For people who make more money than the baseline AGI limits, the direct payments will be reduced at the same rate they were under the CARES Act. Every $100 earned over the income thresholds means the checks are docked $5.
Cox Media Group