House passes bill to hike stimulus payments to American households

Increasing direct payments to Americans faces slimmer chances in the Republican-controlled Senate

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Monday passed a standalone bill that would raise the direct payment amounts distributed to American households under new COVID-19 relief legislation to $2,000, from $600.

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The measure – supported by President Trump and Democrats – was approved by a margin of 275 to 134.

It will be sent to the Senate for approval where it faces slimmer chances in the Republican-controlled chamber.

STIMULUS CHECKS ROUND 2: WHAT TO EXPECT

On Sunday, President Trump signed a $900 billion relief appropriation, which calls for $600 direct payments to Americans. The president initially said he would not approve the measure, motivated by resistance rooted partially in the size of the direct payments.

He has, however, continued to advocate for increasing those payments to $2,000, and Democrats largely agree. Some Republicans, however, are wary of ballooning federal spending figures.

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A senior Treasury Department official told NBC News on Monday that the government was still aiming to start delivering stimulus payments to direct deposit accounts at the end of this week. It is unclear how the timetable could be affected if the measure to hike payment amounts passes the Senate.