Republicans on Thursday morning blocked a bid by House Democrats to send $2000 checks to the American people as demanded by President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday night.
Trump raised objections to the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and omibus spending package approved by Congress on Monday, and said he will not sign it unless it was amended.
His surprising objections came only after the bill was approved on a bipartisan basis by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The government will now shut down on Tuesday unless President Trump signs the bill, or a new funding measure is approved.
Trump, who had not shown any interest in any legislation to fight the health and economic fallout of the novel coronavirus, said on Tuesday night that Congress should provide $2,000 stimulus checks to the American people up from $600 approved in a coronavirus relief and omnibus spending package earlier in the week.
The Democrats seized on his words and offered another bill on Thursday morning, arguing that they also preferred the higher payments.
Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from Maryland offered the measure to increase the check size to $2,000 during a Christmas Eve session of the House unanimous consent.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from California blocked the unanimous consent, thereby blocking the entire measure.
Republican Rep. Rob Wittman from Virginia sought to bring up a competing measure to revisit the portion of the appropriations legislation that relates to foreign aid. Trump had criticized those provisions as well. They were included after a negotiation with Republicans and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
With both measures now shut down, the government will likely shut down on Tuesday, unless Trump signs the two bills he has been sent, one containing $900 billion to fight coronavirus and its economic effects and the other $1.4 trillion to fund government until September ending next year.