U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., played a key role in developing the $908 billion COVID-19 relief package that President Donald Trump signed into law on Sunday. However, Johnson on Monday voted against Trump’s request for $2,000 direct payments to Americans.

$600 or $2,000?

In the ongoing Washington, D.C. struggle over whether Americans should receive direct payments of $600 or $2,000 as part of a COVID-19 relief effort, President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., are on opposing sides.

In fact, Trump and two-time left-wing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are aligned in pushing for the $2,000 payments.

Tuesday afternoon, Trump tweeted: “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!”

Earlier in the day, the president stated via Twitter: “$2000 for our great people, not $600! They have suffered enough from the China Virus!!!”

Sanders is officially an independent member of the U.S. Senate from Vermont.

“This is about life and death for millions of people. The Senate must approve the $2000 for every working class adult,” Sanders tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson, a 1995 T.F. Riggs High School graduate, played a major role in developing the $908 billion COVID relief compromise plan, which Trump signed into law late Sunday. However, this bill only allows for the $600 direct payments.

Monday, the U.S. House voted on a separate measure to increase the payments to $2,000, which passed the House by a tally of 275 to 134.

“The House and the President are in agreement: we must deliver $2,000 checks to American families struggling this Holiday Season,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted Monday.

However, Johnson was among House members voting “no.”

“With a cost of $437 billion, these funds are enough to pay every unemployed American over $50,000 to get back to work or provide 90% of Americans a tax-free year,” Johnson stated to the Capital Journal on Tuesday regarding this vote. “We are working with borrowed funds and we need to be targeting payments to hurting families and struggling main street business.”

Later Tuesday, because the measure passed in the House, it proceeded to the Republican-controlled Senate for consideration. However, as of Tuesday afternoon, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, was blocking a vote on increasing the payments from $600 to $2,000.

“The only thing standing between Americans and $2,000 survival checks is Senator Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans. Americans are crying out for help, and Democrats will not stop fighting to deliver $2,000 survival checks,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York, tweeted on Tuesday.

Trump added late Tuesday: “Republicans must support the $2000 payments and must FIGHT the crooked presidential election. We won big!”

Because this is an active news situation, the Capital Journal will update this story when appropriate.

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