A House Republican who led one of the bipartisan groups behind the $908 billion Covid relief bill signed by President Trump Sunday says he will back the commander-in-chief’s push for $2,000 checks.
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), co-chair of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, said in a statement Sunday evening that he would vote in favor of raising the direct payment value from $600 to $2,000 when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings the amendment to a vote Monday.
It was the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of about 50 lawmakers led by Reed and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), that helped reignite talks between House and Senate leadership on reaching a deal after the November election.
Support for their efforts only grew as the holidays approached, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pelosi eventually pledging that the chambers would not break for Christmas without the package being pushed through.
The legislation, which was tied to a $1.4 trillion government funding bill, passed the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, but President Trump argued that the package needed work.
The commander-in-chief’s biggest complaint with the deal was the price of direct payments, calling on Congress last week to amend the bill and raise each check to $2,000, as well as eliminate billions of dollars in foreign aid.
Despite his reservations, Trump signed the $2.3 trillion legislation Sunday evening, but called on the direct payment amount to still be altered and line items be stricken.
Reed, he announced Sunday, would back the decision to augment direct payments.
“I’ve communicated to the President my support for his directive to increase the total size of stimulus checks to $2,000 per individual and will be voting in favor of the CASH Act tomorrow to do so,” the New York Republican said in a statement, “It is only fair that we act decisively now to deliver the comprehensive relief individuals desperately need.”
While $2,000 checks may be able to pass the Democratic-led House, it is unlikely to go anywhere in the GOP-held Senate.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of Senate GOP leadership and an ally of McConnell’s, shut down the idea of the motion passing in the upper house of Congress last week.
“If [Democrats did that], I would be surprised if we dealt with it,” the Missouri senator said after being asked how leadership would respond if the House altered the bill to increase the payment amounts.
Pressed on whether a bill with $2,000 payments would be able to get the necessary 60 votes to pass the body, the top GOP senator said, “It would not.”