Democrats’ plan to raise stimulus checks might not get off ground

This week, USA TODAY Politics focuses on the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and the effort in Congress to get through a fresh round of COVID-19 economic relief.

Dates to watch:

Jan. 6: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.

Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition.

Andrew Yang files paperwork to run for NYC mayor

Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang may run for mayor of New York City in 2021.

Yang filed paperwork Wednesday that allows him to raise money and explore a run for mayor in the nation’s largest city, putting him in line to enter a crowded Democratic field to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio who can’t run again because of term limits.

Yang, 45, has said little about his potential run but has been quietly meeting with city leaders and beginning to lay the groundwork for a campaign after faring better than expected in his presidential bid as a political newcomer.

“2021 is going to be epic,” he tweeted cryptically Wednesday evening.

The Manhattan entrepreneur centered his presidential campaign around his call for universal basic income, which would be $1,000 a month for every adult in the country.

— Joseph Spector, USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group

Democrats’ plan to raise direct payment amounts in vote Thursday might not get off ground

Democrats acting on President Donald Trump’s call to increase the amount of money millions of Americans are slated to get as part of a COVID stimulus package Congress approved Monday are planning to bring the issue to the House floor for a vote Thursday.

But the proposal to raise the direct payment from $600 to $2,000 at a pro forma session Thursday while most lawmakers are out of town for the holiday recess appears to be doomed after the top House Republican said he would offer a counter-proposal to “revisit” the package’s inclusion of billions in foreign aid.

“Democrats appear to be suffering from selective hearing,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, tweeted late Wednesday with a letter to fellow Republicans laying out his proposal. “They’ve conveniently ignored @realDonaldTrump’s call to reexamine tax dollars wasted overseas while so many Americans are struggling at home. Republicans will act to put America first.”

On Monday, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan $2.4 trillion bill that includes broad stimulus relief and the funding of the federal government through September. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a video of his remarks calling the measure “a disgrace” partly because he felt the direct payments were too small and partly because he opposed foreign aid in the bill.

That was despite his own Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin negotiating the $600 compromise and despite his administration submitting a budget earlier this year that asked Congress to approve levels of foreign aid similar to those included in the package adopted Monday.

Exclusive: As Trump leaves office, 50% of Americans see him as a ‘failed’ president

In a letter to fellow House Democrats Wednesday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will try to pass an amendment to the bill under a procedure known as “Unanimous Consent” since most lawmakers won’t be present. But the process allows a single member’s objection to scuttle passage, and McCarthy’s counter-proposal to revisit foreign aid is a signal that at least some GOP lawmakers don’t plan to go along with the Democrats.

“If the President truly wants to join us in $2,000 payments, he should call upon Leader McCarthy to agree to our Unanimous Consent request,” she wrote in a letter to fellow Democrats.

If the proposal to raise the direct payment amounts fails Thursday, Democrats are expected to bring the measure for a vote Monday when the House is back in regular session.

— Ledyard King

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Politics updates: Democrats’ plan to hike stimulus checks might fail

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