The House Democrats' attempt to consider $ 2,000 stimulus checks has been formally blocked by their Republican counterparts in the lower chamber, despite President Donald Trump's support for the very move.
Majority Chairman Steny Hoyer on Thursday asked for "unanimous approval" to pass a new bill guaranteeing these payments after Trump called for stimulus checks in the final coronavirus relief package to be increased from $ 600 to $ 2,000 . Trump's request – an obvious political stunt – has now been blocked by members of his own party.
Since Hoyer asked for unanimous approval to put the standalone bill to the vote and the minority leader Kevin McCarthy disagreed, the move did not move forward. House Democrats plan to put it to the vote again next Monday when they are likely to face more GOP opposition. The Republican leadership of the Senate also took no steps to consider the proposal.
Thursday's vote is the latest indication that Trump's demands will not be met and raises questions about what exactly he will do next. Trump has yet to sign the stimulus plan for it to become law, and he's running out of time on it: since the stimulus package is tied to a broader funding package, the government could close if Trump doesn't sign it by December 28.
Given his opposition to the legislation, Trump could potentially veto the bill directly, or use what is known as a pocket veto, which effectively veto any bill he does not sign before the adjournment of Congress on Jan. 3, 2021. Presidents have 10 days (excluding Sundays) to sign the laws passed by Congress. If they don't – and if Congress adjourns during that window – the bill will be vetoed.
It's also entirely possible that Trump might back down and sign the bill anyway as people desperately need coronavirus relief, but nothing is certain right now. However, if Trump vetoed it, it will delay aid to millions of Americans grappling with unemployment, hunger and housing costs during the pandemic – undoing any positive attention he may have received about calls for stimulus checks.
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