After stalling for a week, President Donald Trump finally signed the latest stimulus bill, which provides for another round of direct payments to all Americans, but worth up to only $600 this time. That’s far less than what most Americans were hoping for—and less than what the Democrats wanted, which were checks worth $2,000 apiece. That’s why the Dems put a second stimulus bill to the floor in the House last night, calling for $2,000 stimulus checks. It passed the Democratic-controlled House with a two-thirds majority. Still, that’s hardly the only step needed to get the two grand into your pocket. Here’s what’s left:
- The Republican-controlled Senate would need to pass the bill, too: The biggest roadblock to Americans getting a $2,000 stimulus check is now the Republican-controlled Senate. It’s unknown if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the House bill to a vote. But even if the bill does get a vote, most Republicans have scoffed at the idea of a second stimulus check worth more than $600. At least two, though, have recently changed their tune: Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. As to why these two Republicans have suddenly broken rank: They are each facing runoff elections for their Senate seats in Georgia next week and can’t risk alienating constituents eager for larger checks.
- Trump needs to sign the bill: If McConnell brings the bill to a vote—and if it passes—the final hurdle in getting the bill passed into law is the president. Oddly enough, this is the easy part. Trump—to the dismay of Republican lawmakers—has been calling for $2,000 checks for the past week.
What all this means is the Democrats in the House have done what they can to get Americans more much-needed cash. Now it’s up to the Republican-controlled Senate.
The good news is that not all Republican Senators need to vote in favor of the bill. Because their seats and political careers are on the line in the runoff election next week, the senators from Georgia are signaling that they could break ranks and join the Democrats. Other Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have expressed support for larger stimulus checks.
The bad news: McConnell has indicated that he will tie the bill up with other measures that Democrats are wary of supporting, including the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields social media companies from liability for content their users post.
How will it end? It’s not clear: The Senate will likely be wrestling over this bill over the next several days. The one thing we can say for certain is the $600 checks will start going out within the next week.