Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4), who represents Lakewood, voted to increase direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000, being one of just 44 Republicans to vote ‘yes’ on the proposal. The bill to increase the payments passed in the Democrat-led House of Representatives last night.
In a statement following the vote, Rep. Smith said the increase is necessary to bolster the financial footing of millions of Americans.
“The increase of COVID-19 relief check to $2,000, coupled with yesterday’s extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), extended unemployment benefits and other assistance, are justified and necessary to assist tens of millions of people devastated by the Pandemic and like previous Covid relief packages are a bridge to a post-Covid world.”
President Trump signed a stimulus package that gives $600 to each eligible American, but only after resisting for several days, demanding that lawmakers increase the amount to $2,000 per person. The president ultimately signed the bill, but Democrats saw and grabbed the opportunity to introduce a second, separate bill that would raise the amount to $2,000 – the amount they originally wanted and now have the Republican president’s backing for.
The US Senate is currently in talks regarding the bill, but with the chamber being led by Republicans, most of whom are against the increase, it is in no way guaranteed that the payments will indeed be increased.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-3), who won reelection in November after switching his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican and throwing his support behind President Trump, also voted in favor of the increase.