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Kuster, Pappas vote in favor of $2,000 COVID-19 stimulus payments

President Trump signed $900 billion relief package Sunday, pushes Congress to increase direct payments


New Hampshire's Congressional lawmakers are reacting to the president signing the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill on Sunday.

An estimated $2 billion in COVID-19 relief money is expected to come to New Hampshire as part of the bill.

The president delayed signing the bill in part because it only provided $600 direct payments. While he did sign it Sunday, he pushed for Congress to increase the amount being sent to citizens.

Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas both voted Monday evening for a new measure to increase direct payments from $600 to $2,000.

The measure, which passed on a 275-134 vote, faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. Kuster told WMUR she believes senate Republicans will support the measure.

Both Pappas and Kuster said the bill brings much needed aid to people in New Hampshire, but more is needed and the delay hurt many people financially.

“We do have people who were left behind by this, businesses that have closed down or small businesses that are struggling, and so we really want to make sure that we help those in need,” Kuster said.

Both representatives said the money will be crucial as New Hampshire is in the midst of its highest COVID-19 case counts yet.

"Of course, it should've happened a lot sooner and we should've been able to get help out there months ago. I think that would've helped save lives and keep people safer in their communities, but the help is important. I'm glad it's getting out and we've got to stay committed to this effort," Pappas said.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said the Trump administration needs to get the relief to families quickly.

"There is a bipartisan sense of urgency to finish what we started in the new year and provide more relief that will help Americans get to the other side of this crisis and recover, and I will hold lawmakers to that commitment. Our work isn't over," Shaheen said in a statement.

"Our bipartisan COVID-19 relief and government funding bill will provide significant economic relief to Granite Staters and small businesses, while also strengthening public health efforts to contain the pandemic," Sen. Maggie Hassan said in a statement.