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Pelosi calls $600 COVID-19 payments to Americans 'significant'; social media lights her up

"Those checks are from the American people"

Updated: December 22, 2020 - 9:56am

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A $900 billion compromise bill heading toward passage on Capitol Hill includes a $600 check for Americans struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, an amount that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls "significant."

Under the last stimulus bill passed by Congress in March, more than 150 million Americans received $1,200 payments as the government returned nearly $270 billion to Americans. 

In a short statement on the House floor on Monday, Pelosi took the opportunity to bash President Trump as she discussed the new relief checks.

"I would like them bigger, but they are significant, and they will be going out soon," Pelosi said. "The president may insist on having his name on the check. But make no mistake, those checks are from the American people. The American people's name should be on that check, no individual.

Pelosi, it's worth noting, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with a net worth estimated at more than $100 million (she makes $223,000 a year in salary). And for the record, when Trump signed into law tax cuts that prompted numerous businesses to give $1,000-$2,5000 bonuses to millions of workers, Pelosi called that amount "crumbs."

When the first stimulus bill passed, the payments began about two weeks after the legislation was approved. More than 81 million payments totaling more than $147 billion were disbursed within weeks, all through electronic transfers to recipients' bank accounts, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In August, as lawmakers continued to debate more direct payments to Americans, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the federal government could roll out new checks the week after Congress passed a bill. "We did it the first time — I can get out 50 million payments really quickly, a lot of it into people's direct accounts," Mnuchin told reporters then.

If the new bill follows the first bill, individuals will be eligible for payments up to $600, but that amount declines for those with an adjusted gross income higher than $75,000 a year. The $600 payment would drop by 5% of every dollar above $75,000, or $50 for every $1,000. 

Social media had a field day with the paltry amount for Americans included in the compromise bill.

A Twitter user quipped that the next stimulus round would come in the form of 20% off coupon to Bed Bath & Beyond.

Another said: "What are you going to do with your $600 stimulus check? Pay 1 of your 10 overdue bills - buy barely 2 weeks worth of groceries - pay a quarter of your rent - ???? - use it to wipe your tears."