The House of Representatives voted against a motion that would have prevented anyone without a Social Security number from receiving government payouts approved in a recent stimulus package.
Under the bill, most Americans have already received $1,200.
While illegal immigrants and others without a Social Security number would have been prevented from receiving the payment if the motion to recommit passed, the measure was narrowly defeated late May 15 on a 209-198 vote.
All Republicans present voted for the motion, as did 13 Democrats.
Democrats who voted for the motion are primarily first-term members who face tough reelection battles. They are: Reps. Cindy Axne of Iowa, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Jared Golden of Maine, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, Ben McAdams of Utah.
While no Republicans voted against the motion, Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), a former Republican, did.
Twenty-three members didn’t vote. Those who missed the vote were about equally divided between parties.
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), who offered the motion, said he did so because the House bill members were about to vote on included a provision that would change the identification requirement for the government payouts to taxpayer identification number from Social Security number.
“This switch will let illegal immigrants and non-citizens get checks they aren’t eligible for,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, we need to make sure these rebate checks go to Americans who need it,” he added later.
Riggleman said his motion shouldn’t garner controversy considering illegal immigrants aren’t eligible for most federal aid.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) spoke in opposition to the motion, charging that Republicans were “standing in the way of helping people.”
“I want to make it very clear: COVID-19 does not discriminate or differentiate on immigration status,” she said, referring to the disease the virus causes.