WASHINGTON — Members of the “Squad” on Thursday introduced their own measure to provide $2,000 “survival checks” to struggling American families after President Trump called on Congress to amend a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.
The legislation — championed by Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Pramila Jayapal — seeks to distribute urgent aid as Congress grapples with Trump’s eleventh hour decision to block the stimulus package which is part of a $1.4 trillion annual spending bill to keep the government open.
“This holiday season, families are being forced to make incredibly difficult decisions, such as whether they should keep their lights on or buy groceries,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said in a statement.
“They are suffering to no fault of their own. We must protect public health and the economic well-being of those we serve. Providing $2,000 survival checks would give those struggling right now a lifeline as we continue to fight to defeat COVID-19.”
Trump said the bipartisan relief bill was a “disgrace” and called for Congress to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, while also cutting down on foreign aid and other stuffing in the regular appropriations bill.
The House will meet on Monday to vote on stand-alone legislation for $2,000 stimulus checks.
Not all Republicans have fallen into step with the president’s demands.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), one of the top Republicans in the Senate, said it would be “a mistake” to not sign the coronavirus relief bill.
“It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think reopening that bill would be a mistake,” he said.
Asked what the best way was out of this political stalemate, the GOP lawmaker replied, “The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that’s what he decides.”
The deadline to avert a government shutdown and pass the package is Dec. 29.
The sprawling 5,585-page relief bill has been flown to Mar-a-Lago, where Trump is spending Christmas, but it’s unclear if he will sign the legislation into law.
With tens of millions of Americans facing food insecurity, Democrats and Republicans who waited nine months to pass more relief were criticized for not reaching a deal sooner.
An estimated 12 million people will lose their unemployment insurance the day after Christmas if Congress fails to extend provisions from the March CARES Act that expanded benefits.
Millions will also face the threat of losing their homes if a federal eviction moratorium lapses at the end of the month.