Maine’s two U.S. senators said Tuesday that they support providing $2,000 pandemic stimulus checks to qualifying Americans as pressure mounted in the Senate to bring the measure to a vote.

U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins

President Trump has called on Congress to increase the amount of the checks, which are part of the COVID-19 stimulus bill he signed into law Sunday, from $600 to $2,000 per individual, and the House overwhelmingly voted Monday to approve the increase.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked consideration of the House bill Tuesday, but Democrats have been calling for a vote and a growing number of Republicans is also voicing support for the change.

Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Sen. Susan Collins, pointed to comments the senator made to Maine Public on Tuesday in response to a question about the $2,000 payments.

Collins, a Republican, said she supports the increase, and that it would help both those who have lost jobs and those who have continued working through the pandemic.

“Hospital workers, firefighters, our police officers, our truck drivers, I think this would be very welcome relief and assistance to them,” she said.


Collins said she does not agree with all aspects of the House bill, but would vote to increase the stimulus checks to $2,000.

Sen. Angus King, an independent, said in a statement that increasing the checks from $600 to $2,000 would be a “significant step in the right direction as we seek to ensure that our citizens have the resources they need to make it through the winter.”

“This is a critical moment in the COVID pandemic from a health perspective, but also an economic one – if we don’t extend additional aid to those suffering from financial uncertainty, it may take the United States longer to recover its economic footing,” King said. “And though I wish this legislation before us was more carefully targeted towards those most in need, this is the bill before us – and an opportunity to do a lot of good for millions of Americans is not an opportunity I’ll pass up.”

Increasing the amount should not be a partisan issue, King said, noting Trump’s support for the $2,000 checks, bipartisan support in the House and increasing bipartisan support in the Senate.

“It’s time for Senator McConnell to get out of the way and let the Senate vote on this legislation to provide real relief for Americans in need,” King said.

Both of Maine’s Democratic House members, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Jared Golden, voted for the House legislation that passed 275-134 Monday. The president is upping pressure on Senate Republicans to support the measure, saying in a tweet Tuesday that, “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2,000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!”

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