Central Illinois lawmakers respond to House voting to increase stimulus checks, override President’s veto

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The U.S. Capitol is seen, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON D.C. (WMBD) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Monday to pass a bill to increase the $600 stimulus checks to $2,000.

275 members voted “Yay” and 134 voting “Nay.”

The bill received the needed two-thirds majority of the members voting to pass in the House. 

Republican Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) voted against the stimulus check increase, while voting to override the President’s NDAA veto. He sent the statement below to WMBD’s Matt Sheehan.

“This weekend President Trump signed a targeted $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that provides crucial support for Americans and builds upon the previous 3 aid bill passed by Congress. The legislation included $600 stimulus checks, an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment on top of what is already provided, and more Paycheck Protection Program funding for small businesses in need. As we work to recover, we won’t be able to spend our way out of this pandemic. I continue to support targeted relief for Illinoisans, but the best thing we can do for our economy and working Illinoisans right now is to reopen businesses safely, get our kids back in the classroom, and alleviate the issues so many of my constituents continue to have with Illinois’ unemployment system.”

Rep. Darin LaHood (R) IL-18

Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) also voted to override the President’s NDAA veto.

“This defense authorization package is critical to the operation of our military and honors those who put their lives on the line to serve our nation. While the President may have chosen to reject a pay rase for service members and strong support for our military, I was proud to help pass this bipartisan, bicameral defense package earlier this month and I am proud to take one more step today to ensure it becomes law,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “The heart of our nation’s defense runs right through Northwestern and Central Illinois and this package upholds our region’s strong tradition of service. It includes critical initiatives that will expand economic opportunity for our military bases, strengthen protections for Gold Star families, and ensure our National Guard servicemen and women get the support they deserve.”

Rep. Bustos voted in favor of the stimulus check increase to $2,000, saying the House delivered on their promise. The bill will now be considered in the Senate.

“As American families continue to struggle with the impact of the pandemic and the current Administration joins House Democrats in calling for increased aid, today I cast my vote to deliver more money in direct payments to those worried about where their next meal might come from or how they might keep the lights on. Our fight continues, but I’m proud House Democrats led the way to deliver $2,000 directly to those who need it. I urge Senate Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to join us in working to help the people we serve.”

Before the vote Monday night, a spokesperson for Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger told Matt Sheehan Rep. Kinzinger “plans to vote in favor” of the stimulus check increase.

After President Donald Trump signed into law a $900 billion pandemic relief package that includes $600 stimulus checks for struggling Americans, lawmakers continued efforts to raise stimulus check amounts in Congress; the House passed a standalone bill late Monday afternoon that would increase the amount to $2,000 if approved by the Senate.

The vote count was 275-134.

Of the members who voted against the $2,000 check, 130 were Republicans, 2 were Independents and 2 were Democrats.

Trump signed into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package on Sunday, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. The deal provides $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as an increase in food stamp benefits.

The House gaveled in for the rare holiday week session to vote on Trump’s unmet demand for larger $2,000 virus relief checks. Democrats who control the House favor the larger stipends, beyond the $600 payments included in the massive COVID-19 bill, and passed a standalone bill seeking to increase the checks to $2,000. But the president’s push for more spending is forcing his Republican allies who oppose the higher payments into a tough spot.

The bill passed the House, but faces resistance Tuesday from the Republican-led Senate.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought the standalone bill to the House floor to increase check sizes.

Increasing the $600 checks to $2,000 would cost $464 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, which prepares cost estimates for legislation before Congress.

Lawmakers also voted Monday to override Trump’s recent veto of a $740 billion bill setting policy for the Defense Department, with the House voting on the measure late Monday afternoon. It is the first veto override of Trump’s presidency.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he would offer Trump’s proposal for $2,000 checks for a vote in Senate this week.

“The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks,” Schumer tweeted. “Then I will move to pass it in the Senate.” He said no Democrats will object. “Will Senate Republicans?”

Many of Trump’s fellow Republicans, who control the Senate, oppose the higher relief payments.

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama counted himself Monday among the opponents of a more generous relief package and Trump’s call for higher payments.

“It’s money we don’t have, we have to borrow to get and we can’t afford to pay back,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” “Someone’s got to show me how we’re going to pay for it. How far before we all go into debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy?”

But Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York said she was open to the idea of $2,000 checks. “Many Americans are in dire need of relief,” she said on the show.

For now, the administration can only begin work sending out the $600 payments.

Unemployment benefits being paid out to about 14 million people through pandemic programs lapsed on Saturday but will be restarted now that Trump has signed the bill.

The relief package extends a moratorium on evictions that was due to expire on Dec. 31, refreshes support for small-business payrolls, provides funding to help schools re-open and aid for the transport industry and vaccine distribution.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. All reporting by Susan Cornwell and Steve Holland of Reuters and Jill Covin, Lisa Mascaro and Andrew Taylor of the AP.

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