Republicans on Pandemic Relief


Washington, Dec 24 (AFP/APP): Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort to amend the hard-won pandemic relief package to more than triple direct payments to struggling Americans, something demanded by President Donald Trump.

After months of partisan bickering, legislators late Monday finally approved a $900 billion stimulus package to help families and businesses struggling to survive the hit to the economy from the coronavirus before millions lose their benefits.

The legislation includes one-time payments of $600 to most taxpayers, but Trump dropped a bombshell on the celebrations this week, hinting he might veto the bill unless the amount was increased to $2,000.

Democrats, who have been pushing for months to increase pandemic support, cheered his statement, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged Republicans to support an amendment to boost the dollar amount.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives held a Christmas Eve “pro forma” session, normally a brief affair with little business, in an effort to win bipartisan approval to send the revised payments to Trump’s desk for signature.

But Republicans refused to agree to the change. “So we do not have unanimous consent,” said Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell, who was acting as speaker pro tempore. Pelosi immediately lambasted Republicans and vowed to call the House back on Monday to approve the amendment in a regular session.

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