Representative John Rose, a Tennessee Republican, attacked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for attempting to pass legislation that would give Americans $2,000 stimulus checks—a key demand raised by President Donald Trump last week.
Congress passed a bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill last week, which was included with $1.4 trillion omnibus government spending legislation. Although the White House reportedly urged Republican lawmakers to support the package before it passed, Trump attacked the bill and described it as a “disgrace” in a Tuesday video message.
The president took issue with billions of funding to foreign countries and other government priorities, while also asking Congress to raise the $600 stimulus checks included in the package to $2,000 for most Americans. Democrats quickly backed the president’s call for larger direct payments, pointing out that this was what they’d asked for months ago already.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, plans to hold a roll-call vote on Monday morning on a stand-alone bill that would dole out $2,000 stimulus checks, but some Republicans have attacked her for attempting to do what Trump requested.
“Unfortunately we see Speaker Pelosi continuing to play political games,” Rose told Fox News on Sunday morning after he was asked about the effort to give out $2,000 in direct payments. “There are people all over this country that need targeted, timely, temporary relief to help with response to the pandemic and the imposed shutdowns across the country,” the GOP congressman said.
“It’s a little disingenuous now for them to put this vote before us when there is so much pork in the appropriations bill that we got only hours before having to vote on it last week,” Rose said.
Newsweek reached out to a press representative for Pelosi for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
Why It Matters
After Trump called for $2,000 stimulus checks, Pelosi and other leading Democrats quickly backed the president’s demand.
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” the speaker tweeted shortly after Trump shared his video message on Tuesday.
On Thursday morning, House Democrats attempted to pass a measure for $2,000 stimulus checks through a unanimous consent vote. But that effort was blocked by Republicans. Now Democrats plan to hold a roll-call vote on Monday. But Pelosi has urged Trump to sign the current relief bill to quickly release aid to the millions of financially strapped Americans and to keep the government funded next year.
Although Trump took issue with the spending included in the omnibus portion of the legislation, most of this funding was included due to his own administration’s own budget item requests. Although some GOP lawmakers have backed the president’s call to reduce funding to foreign countries and other government priorities, other top Republican lawmakers have pointed out that this money was asked for by the Trump administration.
“There’s been some apparent misunderstanding about what’s in the regular appropriating bill and what’s in the COVID relief bill, and generally the regular appropriating bill includes things the administration asked for,” Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, told reporters on Thursday.
“It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think reopening that bill would be a mistake,” the GOP lawmaker said. He added that “the best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that’s what he decides.”
Whether Trump will sign or veto the current legislation is still an open question.
Leading Republican lawmakers have expressed their opposition to larger direct payments, with some saying they do not support any stimulus checks at all. They have argued that these stimulus checks are not targeted enough and will go to many Americans that are not struggling financially. Some described the stimulus checks as a “socialist” idea.
“It’s a really foolish, eggheaded, left-wing, socialist idea to pass out free money to people,” Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, told Fox News on Wednesday. “So I part ways with the president on giving people free money.”