Pandemic aid secured, Congress turned Monday to confront the White House on additional year-end priorities after President Donald Trump reluctantly signed a $2 trillion-plus COVID-19 relief and federal spending package that will provide relief for millions of Americans.
The House was voting during the rare holiday week session 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 bill. But the president’s push for more spending is forcing his Republican allies who oppose the higher payments into a tough spot.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, “Republicans have a choice: Vote for this legislation or vote to deny the American people” the assistance she said they need during the pandemic.
The showdown could end up as more symbol than substance, and the outcome is highly uncertain. Republican leaders indicated their party is split – some objecting to more spending while others are inclined to support Trump’s push for checks, wary of bucking the outgoing president’s demands.
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, acknowledged the division and said Congress had already approved ample funds during the COVID crisis. “Nothing in this bill helps anybody get back to