The House tried to pass the $2,000 payments during a pro forma session on Christmas Eve day, a brief meeting of the chamber, where only a few members attend.
The Democrats moved to increase the size of the checks after President Trump threatened to oppose a more than $2 trillion pandemic aid and federal funding bill because it included a $600 check to most Americans rather than $2,000.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., offered the increase check proposal from the House floor Thursday, but was blocked because the measure was not approved by House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., attempted to get lawmakers to reconsider aspects of the spending bill related to foreign aid, which was blocked by Democrats.
On Tuesday, Trump called the spending bill a ‘disgrace’, referencing billions of dollars being sent overseas in foreign aid.
“Throughout the summer, Democrats cruelly blocked COVID relief legislation in an effort to advance their extreme, left-wing agenda, and influence the election,” Trump said. “Then, a few months ago, Congress started negotiations on a new package to get urgently-needed help to the American people. It’s taken forever,” said Trump.
“For example, among the more than 5,000 pages in this bill, which nobody in this Congress has read because of its length and complexity, it’s called the COVID Relief Bill, but it has almost nothing to do with COVID,” the president continued.
“If the President is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Pelosi, said Thursday that House Democrats would vote Monday on a standalone bill that would provide direct payments to Americans of $2,000 per person, “On Monday, I will bring the House back to session where we will hold a recorded vote on our stand-alone bill to increase economic impact payments to $2,000. To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny them the relief they need.”
Some of the foreign aid and wasteful examples of taxpayer dollars are:
- $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia.
- $134 million to Burma
- $1.3 billion for Egypt and the Egyptian military, “which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment.”
- $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan
- $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
- $40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., “which is not even open for business.”
- $1 billion for the Smithsonian, “which is not even open,” and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art
- $7 million for Reef Fish Management
- $25 million to combat Asian carp
- $2.5 million to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico. “A provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatchers”
- $566 million for construction projects at the FBI