Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected on Tuesday to a proposal by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to vote on a House bill increasing COVID-19 relief payments to $2,000. McConnell added that the Senate will “begin the process” of addressing President Trump’s request that Congress increase relief payments to $2,000.
The House voted 275-134 on Monday to increase COVID-19 stimulus payments set to go out to American households in the coming weeks to $2,000, up from the $600 checks that Congress had previously approved. The measure now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate.
The updated package would have included stimulus checks of up to $2,000 (previously $600) for people who earn less than $75,000 per year (or married couples earning up to $150,000), an additional $2,000 per dependent child under 18, $300 per week extension of unemployment insurance and federal unemployment insurance, more than $286 billion in loans for businesses that need to pay rent and staff, $69 billion in testing and vaccine distribution funds and $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools. The bill also included a legislative priority for the entertainment industry, which will bump up the penalty for operating a for-profit illegal streaming service from a misdemeanor to a felony.