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Unfortunately, the last ditch efforts to increase direct payments from $600 to $2,000 were not successful in Congress yesterday.
This was despite pleas from lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who pushed hard for the checks as a means to give hope to struggling Americans.
“The Senate can start off this new year by adding to that sense of hope by sending $2,000 checks to struggling American families.”
“This is it — the last chance for the 116th Congress to pass $2,000 checks and to say to regular Americans that help is on the way. Let’s have a vote,” Schumer said.
The current Congress session is set to end at noon on Sunday when the next Congress is sworn in so this means that it is almost a certainty that we will not see $2,000 stimulus checks right now.
The biggest bummer to me is that the majority of Americans state that the $600 payments are simply not enough and they are on board with larger stimulus checks.
Yet, purely for political reasons, lawmakers were not able to even put the issue to a vote.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. stated, “I can’t for the life of me understand why we cannot get a vote. We can’t even seem to have a debate on it. With all due respect, this doesn’t seem to be a Republicans versus Democrats issue. This seems to be a Senate versus the United States of America.”
Instead, we heard excuses from some GOP members that these checks were socialism for the rich and that they needed to be much more targeted.
This is despite the fact that these lawmakers had almost a year to draw up a plan that would be targeted.
The good news is that some Republicans did come out and show support for these checks such as Lindsey Graham who yesterday tweeted.
With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, a $2k direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism. In my view it is necessary in the times in which we live.
He also reiterated that there are seven Republicans in the Senate who would vote for it so they would only need five more.
“We have seven Republicans who have already said they’d vote for it. We need five more. I think if we had the vote, we would get there.”
Indeed, the possibility of $2,000 checks passing is exactly why McConnell wrapped up the $2,000 checks in with other issues and avoided a straight up and down vote.
Because he knew it would make a lot of GOP members look bad by not voting in favor of the measure, especially if it passed which seems like a real possibility.
President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed support for a third stimulus bill which could contain more stimulus checks so the battle for increased direct payments is not over.
At this point, it seems like the attention will shift to the January 5 Georgia election runoff.
That race will determine which party will maintain control of the Senate going forward which will have profound consequences for future stimulus relief.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.