Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), told reporters on Thursday that he "has no idea what [Trump] plans to do" regarding coronvirus relief, but it is unlikely that GOP lawmakers would agree to the $2,000 stimulus checks demanded by the US president.
"It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think reopening that bill would be a mistake," remarked Blunt, the No. 4 member of Republican leadership, as reported by The Hill.
"The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that's what he decides."
Blunt's comments come as House Republicans rejected House Democrats' efforts to pass a bill that would raise the provided COVID relief stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per eligible individual.
After months of negotiations, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believed the US president was on board with Congress' combined $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and omnibus spending package.
“House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly fought for bigger checks for the American people, which House and Senate Republicans have repeatedly rejected – first, during our negotiations when they said that they would not go above $600 and now, with this act of callousness on the Floor,” Pelosi said Thursday.
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! https://t.co/Th4sztrpLV— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
Trump's last-minute call for the checks to amount to $2,000 has some lawmakers questioning the president's intent.
“[Trump] doesn't give a damn about people,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) told reporters, Politico reported. “He sowed more fear. He threw kerosene on a fire.”
What further complicates the issue is the fact that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was working with Congress on the $2.3 trillion package, which led lawmakers to believe Trump would approve it.
"We are considering our options and what steps we will take. And I will tell you that there are continuing discussions going on between the Speaker and the secretary of the Treasury and the administration," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said during a Thursday morning news conference, The Hill reported.
"He is the person with whom we have to talk," Hoyer said of the US president.