- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to quickly pass a new bill that would increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.
- President Trump said before signing the $2.3 billion spending and relief bill that stimulus checks should be more substantial than what was included in the bill.
- If McConnell doesn’t allow a vote on the bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders is prepared to delay a vote to override Trump’s NDAA veto and force Congress to stay through New Year’s Eve.
As expected, even with the backing of President Trump, the bill to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 will face an uphill battle in the Senate. After the House passed the bill with a two-thirds majority on Monday night, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to pass the Caring for Americans with Supplemental Help (CASH) Act by unanimous consent on the Senate floor on Tuesday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected to the request. It only takes one senator to object to such a request, and McConnell bit the bullet.
McConnell’s one goal this week was to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, but Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has revealed that he will do everything in his power to delay the override into 2021 unless McConnell allows a vote on the CASH Act. McConnell has yet to indicate whether or not he will do so, but he did say the Senate “will begin a process to bring [the president’s] three priorities into focus,” referring to the increased direct payments, the repeal of Section 230, and baseless accusations of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
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This is shaping up to be one of the more interesting Congressional battles of 2020, as most issues need unanimous consent to move quickly through the Senate. To that point, Sen. Sanders could force the Senate to stay through New Year’s Eve if he chooses to filibuster the vote on the NDAA veto override. Meanwhile, McConnell’s refusal to allow the standalone bill for $2,000 checks to make it to the Senate floor indicates that he and other GOP senators opposed to the measure will amend the bill to include provisions Democrats would be unwilling to support.
Shortly after McConnell blocked a vote on the CASH Act, the president condemned the decision on Twitter:
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! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough! https://t.co/GMotstu7OI
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2020
Potentially complicating matters is the fact that multiple GOP senators appear to be in favor of the bill. Providing all 48 Democrats are on board, they need 12 Republicans to join them for the CASH Act to reach Trump’s desk.
According to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), one of the Republicans that supports the bill, they’ve “got the votes” to make it happen. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), both of whom are currently campaigning in hotly-contested Senate runoff races, endorsed the push for $2,000 stimulus checks on Tuesday as well. Not only would it potentially give them a boost, but letting the bill make it to the floor would allow them to focus on campaigning.