The House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that would increase the amount individuals are to receive under the second Wuhan coronavirus relief package. Under the original version of the bill, each person who qualified would receive $600. Under the new bill, that payment would be increased to $2,000 per person.
According to The Hill, the bill passed with a vote of 275 to 134. A two-thirds majority was needed in order for the legislation to be considered.
The news comes after President Donald Trump originally kicked the $900 billion relief package back to Congress. He wanted them to up the direct cash payment amount that Americans will receive and to cut out the unnecessary spending that was lobbed into the omnibus spending bill.
"It's called the COVID relief bill but it has almost nothing to do with COVID," the president explained in his address last week. "This bill contains $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia; $134 million to Burma; $1.3 billion for Egypt and Egyptian military, which will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment; $25 million for democracy and gender programs in Pakistan; $505 million to Beliza, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama; $40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which is not even open for business; $1 billion for the Smithsonian and an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art; ... $7 million for reef fish management; $25 million to combat Asian carpe; $2.5 million to count the number of amberjack fish in the Gulf of Mexico, a provision to promote the breeding of fish in federal hatcheries; $3 million in poultry production technology; $2 million to study the impact of downed trees; $566 million for construction projects at the FBI."
Trump ended up signing the second relief bill into law late Sunday evening after unemployment benefits expired for millions of Americans and mounting pressure continued from both sides of the aisle. Various members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), said legislators would take up the challenge of upping the direct cash payment amount, but only after the president signed the relief bill.
Whether or not the new bill will be successful in the Senate is unclear.