Mitch McConnell will continue to do what he can Wednesday to block the Senate from passing a $2,000 stimulus check measure as the $600 payments included in the $900 billion coronavirus relief package will start appearing in Americans’ bank accounts as early as next week.
The Senate will start debating Wednesday afternoon overriding President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act and a separate bill tripling the stimulus check amounts.
Trump supports increasing check amounts, tweeting Wednesday morning: ‘$2000 ASAP!’
McConnell proposed a bill Tuesday evening that couples the increased payments with a full repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the creation of an election fraud panel to probe the 2020 presidential election.
All three actions have been pushed by Trump.
The Senate majority leader knows, however, that he is proposing a ‘poison pill’ that is doomed for failure.
The bill would also need to go to the House, which is no longer in session, for approval before going to the president’s desk.
McConnell, and most other Republicans in the Senate, don’t want another few hundred million tacked onto the national deficit in increasing the already approved $600 direct checks three-fold.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is likely to continue on Wednesday blocking Democrats’ efforts to pass a standalone bill increasing direct checks for Americans from $600 to $2,000
President Donald Trump supports tripling the payments, tweeting Wednesday morning: ‘$2000 ASAP!’
Trump signed on Sunday the first COVID-19 relief bill since March, which includes another round of payments for most Americans struggling in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. By doing so, he also avoided forcing a government shutdown as the relief was included in the latest government funding bill.
The president, however, demanded in a redline version of the bill that he sent back to Congress that the checks be upped to $2,000, as well as insisting that foreign spending be cut.
The Democrat-controlled House passed a standalone bill on Monday to increase the payments to the president’s requested amount – and also struck down Trump’s veto of the ‘vital’ NDAA to fund the Pentagon through the year.
As the Senate debates the check amounts, possibly through New Year’s Day, the $600 payments will already be showing up in Americans’ bank accounts as early as Wednesday, January 6.
This is the same day Congress will meet in a joint session to certify the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
McConnell’s bill, filed with the Senate Tuesday night, offers to ‘increase the additional 2020 recovery rebates, to repeal section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934, and for other purposes,’ according to its filings.
Most senators, however, want to amend instead of do a full repeal of Section 230, which offers tech companies legal liability protections from what users post on their platforms.
And Democrats will more than likely object to the 2020 election probe.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said McConnell’s combination bill ‘will not pass the House and cannot become law – any move like this by Sen. McConnell would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a $2,000 survival check.’
‘If Sen. McConnell tries loading up the bipartisan House-passed CASH Act with unrelated, partisan provisions that will do absolutely nothing to help struggling families,’ the New York Democrat added.
It’s unclear when a vote on the McConnell package would take place but his proposal is likely to only satisfy one person – President Trump. All three items were on the president’s wish list.
‘Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring those three priorities into focus,’ McConnell said in a floor speech on Tuesday.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said tying the three, separate subjects together in one bill ‘is an invitation for this entire effort to fall apart.’
Not all hope is lost for Americans struggling to make ends meet in the economic devastation brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
McConnell could still bring up the House-passed $2,000 check proposal – although it appears unlikely at this point.
He also is trying to get the Senate to vote Wednesday on an override of Trump’s veto of the defense bill, the must-pass legislation that funds the Pentagon and provides a pay raise for troops.
Trump lashed out at McConnell on Tuesday for blocking Democrats’ efforts for a swift passage of the $2,000 relief check legislation, claiming Republicans in Congress have a ‘death wish’ for opposing the measure.
‘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!’ the president warned on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
McConnell proposed a new ‘poison pill’ version of the bill on Tuesday coupling the increased payment with a full repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and developing a panel to probe fraud in the 2020 election
He also said the GOP has to stop Democrats from ‘stealing’ the election and demanded, as part of his continued objection to the National Defense Authorization Act, that Congress act to toss out legal liability protections for ‘big tech.’
‘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!’ Trump tweeted to Republicans.
McConnell stopped Schumer’s request Tuesday for unanimous consent to quickly pass sending $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans rather than the $600 already included in the recently-signed coronavirus relief bill.
Senator Bernie Sanders threatened to hold the Senate through New Year’s Day if a vote is not held on the measure to send out increased payments. With his objection he put a hold on vote to override the veto of the defense bill.
McConnell has the votes to override Trump’s veto and wants to get it done so the defense bill can become law. The House already voted for the veto override, which is the first for Trump’s presidency.
President Donald Trump lashed out at McConnell on Tuesday for blocking the measure to triple the checks: ‘Unless Republicans have a death wish… they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP,’ Trump tweeted, adding: ‘$600 IS NOT ENOUGH!’
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requested unanimous consent Tuesday on the standalone bill increasing payments, which was overwhelmingly passed in the House Monday
Senator Bernie Sanders threatened to filibuster another vote to override Trump’s veto of the widely-supported National Defense Authorization Act in protest of McConnell not taking up a vote on the checks – the move would hold the Senate in session until New Year’s Day
Earlier Tuesday, Schumer asked for unanimous consent that the Senate take up a vote on increasing relief checks from $600 to $2,000 – a number embraced by Trump last week and passed by the House on Monday.
Trump finally signed the massive coronavirus relief and government funding package Sunday night – but sent back a line item version with several proposed spending cuts and demanded the $600 checks for Americans be tripled to $2,000.
The president does not have the power to line item veto per a Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional.
He reiterated his support for increased checks Tuesday morning, tweeting: ‘$2000 for our great people, not $600! They have suffered enough from the China Virus!!!’
President Donald Trump reiterated on Tuesday morning his support for tripling payments included in the $900 billion coroanvirus relief package, claiming Americans have ‘suffered enough from the China Virus!!!’
Georgia’s Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both facing runoff elections on January 5, said they would support the effort to get out $2,000 checks because Trump is behind the idea.
‘I’ve stood by the president 100 percent of the time. I’m proud to do that,’ Loeffler said in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday morning. ‘And I’ve said absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now and I will support that.’
‘Democrats have blocked relief time and again,’ she lamented. ‘That’s why we’re in this situation as a country. We’ve tried to pass that relief since this summer. Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders, they’ve admitted that they held it up because they were playing politics with the lives of Georgians and all Americans around this election.’
Perdue also tweeted Tuesday in response to Trump’s post about tripling payments: ‘President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people.’
Their support is crucial. Twelve Republicans need to join Democrats in supporting the increased amount for stimulus checks.
And McConnell needs either Loeffler and Perdue to win their special election races on January 5th if he wants his Republican Party to stay in control of the Senate. The increased stimulus check amount could be a boost to both their campaigns.
Few other Republican senators have weighed in on supporting Trump’s demand. In the past few months, however, several Republicans, especially deficit hawks and budget hard-liners, have railed against another round of direct checks or any sweeping relief legislation.
Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, a member of the progressive ‘squad,’ said Perdue and Loeffler’s support is only ‘performative’ to keep Trump’s support ahead of their elections.
‘They never supported survival checks, @KLoeffler & @Perduesenate support today was performative,’ Omar accused. ‘That’s why Mitch objected.’
‘The only recourse for progress is to remove Mitch from power as Senate Majority Leader and that starts with coming out and voting these two out in Georgia,’ she demanded.
Republican Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler (left) and David Perdue (right, who are both facing runoff elections on January 5, are some of the only members of the GOP who say they support raising payments to $2,000 because the president is pushing for the measure
Progressive Representative Ilham Omar bashed Loeffler and Perdue, claiming their ‘support today was performative’ to stay in the good graces of President Trump, who has campaigned for them both
McConnell lauded on Sunday the president for signing the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill after Trump suggested last week he could veto the measure, but the Kentucky senator did not mention anything about bigger checks at the time.
By holding off on voting, McConnell could impede on Loeffler and Perdue campaigning for their January 5 elections against Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively. If the two were absent from Georgia as they had to remain in Washington for the Senate session, their Democratic competitors could gain a leg up in their home state.
The runoff elections in the southern state will determine which party holds a majority in the Senate for Joe Biden’s first year in office.
Democrats are on board with upping the relief payment – and 44 House Republicans vote in favor of it Monday night – but most GOP lawmakers are opposed to increasing spending even more after finally striking a deal on another pandemic aide bill.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders said he will slow down the Senate’s vote on overriding the president’s veto of the NDAA, a huge annual defense funding bill, unless Senate leaders agree to hold a vote on increasing the checks given to Americans in coronavirus relief funds.
Trump appeared to support the move.
In response to a tweet reporting Sanders’ plans and in apparent support, the president wrote: ‘Give the people $2000, not $600. They have suffered enough!’
Sanders tweeted Monday his intention to hold up the Senate’s vote to override Trump’s veto of the $740 billion NDAA until a vote is held on increasing relief checks to Americans
In apparent support of Senator Sanders, President Trump tweeted ‘Give the people $2000, not $600. They have suffered enough!’
While Sanders cannot ultimately prevent the Senate from voting on whether to override Trump’s veto of the defense bill, McConnell will likely be forced to break a rare filibuster of the veto override efforts.
This will force the bill to overcome a 60-vote procedural hurdle and delay the final vote on Trump’s veto until later this week.
The NDAA initially passed the Senate earlier this month with a 84-13 majority – with Sanders voting against it at the time. The veto override requires a two-thirds vote in order to pass the Senate.
Sanders also received support from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who said he would similarly slow down the defense bill with the hopes of increasing the amount given to Americans as part of the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief package.
‘I will be joining @BernieSanders in blocking the defense bill until we get a vote on $2000 in direct cash relief. That relief passed in the House today with 44 Republicans voting for it. Senate Republicans must do the same and get the American people the help they need,’ Markey tweeted.