WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is calling on the Republican leadership to work with Democrats to raise the dollar amount of the direct payments in the relief package after President Donald Trump threatened to sink the bill without the increase Tuesday night.
Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats on Wednesday that she will go to the floor and ask for unanimous consent to bring a standalone bill that would increase the individual payments from $600 to $2,000, which Trump requested in a video released on Twitter.
To do so requires the agreement of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the same would also need to be done in the Senate.
“If the president truly wants to join us in $2,000 payments, he should call upon Leader McCarthy to agree to our unanimous consent request,” wrote Pelosi.
The House is scheduled to go in for a pro forma session Thursday. If McCarthy agrees to the unanimous consent request, Pelosi tweeted, “This can be done by noon on Christmas Eve.”
Mr. President, sign the bill to keep government open! Urge McConnell and McCarthy to agree with the Democratic unanimous consent request for $2,000 direct payments! This can be done by noon on Christmas Eve!
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
Throughout the long negotiations over the COVID-19 relief bill, Democrats advocated for higher amounts of direct payments, but Pelosi says the GOP would never go above $600 and some cases, they proposed $500.
Trump’s request came as a surprise to Democrats, but they’re hoping to get the increase in funds approved as soon as possible. Along with the $900 billion in relief, the bill also includes government funding, which will need to be approved by Trump by Monday to avoid a shutdown.
“The entire country knows that it is urgent for the president to sign this bill, both to provide the coronavirus relief and to keep government open,” said Pelosi.
However, even if Trump does decide to veto the bill that was passed by both the House and Senate on Monday, the legislation was cleared by lopsided votes in both chambers, so Congress could override it.