PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Stimulus checks will soon be heading out to Americans in need. The question is will they be for $600 — as President Trump signed — or $2000, as President Trump said he wanted.
On Monday, two-thirds of the US House approved the increase to $2000. But Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader was one of only two Democrats to vote against the idea.
“I think it was a total mistake. The 600 bucks is bad, but the $2000 – that’s criminal,” he said.
Schrader told KOIN 6 News he thinks the cash payments to people are a mistake because he believes the money would be better spend extending unemployment benefits or enhancing the Paycheck Protection Program.
“We could all use more money. I’d like to be Santa Claus, but my job as a congressperson and state legislator is to use the taxpayer resources wisely,” Schrader said. “As I said,this is all going on our kids’ and grandkids’ debit card.”
The 5th District representative also said he disagrees with increasing the stimulus amount because he believes the money would got to too many people who don’t actually need it. He pointed to people with higher incomes who would still qualify.
John Topagna, an economist and president of ECONorthwest, said he’s seen the need for help in our area only grow over the last few months.
“I think (the stimulus) is an absolute lifesaver, just in the nick of time,” Topagna said.
The relief package provides $600 payments for individuals making up to $75,000 per year, $1200 for couples making up to $150,000 per year and an additional $600 per dependent child.
A study by Transunion found that 1-in-5 consumers impacted by COVID-19 don’t know how they will pay their bills or loans and that nearly half of impacted lower-income consumers said they desperately need a stimulus check to get by.
“You can see the pain starting to accumulate over the course of the last 3 months,” Topagna said “More and more households reporting they were either in financial distress or approaching financial distress.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an immediate vote by the Senate on the bill to raise the stimulus limit. The Democrats called for a voice vote, which the GOP blocked. McConnell said there will now be a process on this idea in the Senate.