R.I. representatives vote yes on increasing stimulus payments to $2000

The bill to increase stimulus checks to Americans from $600 to $2000 will now head to the Senate after the House of Representatives voted to pass it Monday night.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The bill to increase stimulus checks to Americans from $600 to $2,000 will now head to the Senate after the House of Representatives voted to pass it Monday night.

It passed 275-134.

“They need help from the federal government and $600 was not sufficient,” said Congressman David Cicilline.

The recent Covid aid package that Congress passed last week approved checks for $600. But President Trump had refused to sign the bill over the weekend, saying that amount was too little.

His last minute demand drew frustration from both sides of the aisle.

“The president could have come out much earlier on in this process and made a forceful statement that it needs to be $2,000 per person,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

While the president did eventually sign the bill, House Democrats brought an amendment to the House floor on Monday to upgrade the direct payments.

Dozens of Republicans voted in favor, but many did not. They say the money just isn’t there.

“I’m hoping this is a bipartisan vote, a strong bipartisan statement, that we have the backs of the American people, that we’re going to put cash in their hands to help them weather the storm,” said Congressman Langevin.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it’s not clear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will even bring it to the floor for a vote.

“Families are facing just really horrific circumstances,” said Congressman Cicilline. “There’s no better way to stimulate the economy than direct payments to individuals – put money in the pockets of Americans who are struggling to pay the bills, to keep a roof over their heads.”

Whatever happens in the Senate, Representative Langevin says this will not delay the original $600 payments that are expected to go out in days.

He says if there should be an increase to the stimulus checks, that extra money would go out separately.

Rhode Island Senators Whitehouse and Reed also voiced their support for the increase in payments. Senate Democrats are expected to try and get a vote on the stimulus checks Tuesday.

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