Several top Democrats have rallied around President Donald Trump’s demand for lawmakers to include $2,000 stimulus checks in the latest COVID-19 relief package ― payments some Democrats have been pushing for for months.
Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement Sunday on a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill after a monthslong impasse. But Trump on Tuesday seemingly threatened to veto the bill, which Congress passed a day earlier, unless lawmakers more than tripled the bill’s $600 stimulus payments.
Democratic leaders seized on the rare overlap between their policy goals and Trump’s demands, and urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to heed the call.
“Let’s do it,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday.
“I’m in. Whaddya say, Mitch?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). wrote in a tweet. “Let’s not get bogged down with ideological offsets and unrelated items and just DO THIS! The American people deserve it.”
For months, Democrats have been calling for stimulus checks at least equal to the $1,200 payments Americans received as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law in late March.
In May, three Democratic senators ― Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Ed Markey of Massachusetts ― introduced a bill that would provide $2,000 relief payments to many individuals in the United States. But the Republican-controlled Senate never brought the bill to a vote.
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks,” Pelosi wrote in her tweet Tuesday. “At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also tweeted in support of boosting the payments, stating that she and fellow progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) had drafted an amendment outlining such language last week.
“Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. “We can pass $2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to stand down.”
Sanders on Tuesday took a swing at Republicans and conservative Democrats who thought $1,200 in relief payments ― let alone $2,000 ― was “too costly” for the working class. He called on Republicans to bend to Trump’s request.
“Now, Mr. President, get Mitch McConnell and your Republican friends to stop opposing it and we can provide working class Americans with $2,000,” Sanders tweeted. “Let’s do it.”
McConnell’s office has not publicly responded to the demands from Trump or the Democrats as of early Wednesday. His office did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.