Mitch McConnell still hasn’t said if he will hold a vote on upping direct checks to Americans to $2,000 as speculation mounts he could ignore Senator Bernie Sanders’ threat to hold the Senate in session into the New Year if there is no vote.
The Senate majority leader has two options after that the Democrat-controlled House voted Monday evening to pass the increased payments: Bring the measure to the floor for a vote and see what happens or force a New Year’s Day vote.
Sanders announced Monday that he will filibuster in the Senate, forcing the upper chamber to sit over the holiday and holding up a vote to override President Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, which has veto-proof support.
Separately, Trump finally signed the massive coronavirus relief and government funding package Sunday night – but sent back a line item version with several 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!!!’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t said if he will hold a vote on upping direct checks to Americans to $2,000 after the House passed the measure on Monday night
Senator Bernie Sanders said Monday he would filibuster the veto override vote for the National Defense Authorization Act if a vote on the increased checks is not brought to the floor – holding the Senate through New Year’s
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!!!’
McConnell lauded 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.
By holding off on voting, McConnell could also impede Georgia Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue campaigning for their January 5 runoff elections. 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.
Trump backed Sanders’ plans to filibuster if a vote is not held on the bill to increase stimulus checks.
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.
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!’
A spokesman for Sanders confirmed that he will object to McConnell setting up a vote on the veto override of the bill until the proposed aid increase is voted on.
‘This week on the Senate floor Mitch McConnell wants to vote to override Trump’s veto of the $740 billion defense funding bill and then head home for the New Year,’ the independent Vermont senator tweeted Monday.
‘I’m going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class.’
Trump backed Sanders’ plans to filibuster and force the Senate to sit until 2021 if a vote is not held on the House-passed bill to increase checks to $2,000 from $600
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
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.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to attempt to bring the House-passed bill to the Senate on Tuesday, but because it would only take a single senator to block his request, he is unlikely to succeed.
In apparent support of Senator Sanders, President Trump tweeted ‘Give the people $2000, not $600. They have suffered enough!’
The House of Representatives passed a bill Monday evening that would increase Americans’ stimulus checks to $2,000 – something President Donald Trump has also demanded.
Democrats used a fast-track procedure to get the bill through, meaning two-thirds of the House needed to sign on.
All but two House Democrats who voted Monday were joined by 44 Republicans to get the bill through, with the final vote total being 275 yeas to 134 nays.
Twenty-one lawmakers didn’t vote.
After the House of Representatives passed the $2,000 bill, Sanders said he would hold up the expected veto override of the National Defense Authorization Act in order to get it across the line in the Senate.
‘I’m going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class,’ Sanders said.
Now the bill’s fate is in the Senate’s hands – where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not been openly supportive.
On Sunday night when Trump signed the giant spending and COVID-19 stimulus bill – after flirting with vetoing it for several days – he repeated his demand for Americans to receive $2,000 checks, instead or the $600 payments outlined in the legislation.
‘As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,’ Trump said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seen on Capitol Hill Monday. Pelosi and House Democrats were successful in passing a bill that would increase Americans’ stimulus checks to $2,000
Just two Democrats defected from their caucus, while 44 Republicans joined the effort to increase the stimulus checks from the $600 that was originally in the relief legislation
Trump golfs nearly daily when he is Palm Beach, staying at Mar-a-Lago over the holiday
President Trump’s public schedule notes he is working ‘tirelessly’ for the American people; above he’s seen on his golf course
Last week, seemingly out of nowhere, Trump announced he was thinking about vetoing the legislation after it overwhelmingly passed Congress Tuesday and was sent to his desk for signature.
Trump ended a crisis of his own making Sunday by finally signing the $2.3 trillion bill, which includes the $900 billion in coronavirus relief and $1.4 trillion for government funding through September 2021.
His signage stopped 14 million Americans from losing their unemployment benefits boost, courtesy of previous relief packages, and averted a government shutdown in the midst of the pandemic.
Although the bipartisan bill was signed, it was sent back to Congress with several red line items from the president marking out the spending he wants cut.
The president does not have the power to line-item veto per a Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional.
‘I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,’ Trump said in a strongly-worded statement Sunday night accompanied by the signage announcement.
His signature came after he spent much of his weekend golfing in Mar-a-Lago railing against the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement lauding Trump for signing the bill, but made no mentions of the president’s demands for cutting spending and increasing direct checks for Americans from $600 to $2,000
The president was largely absent while his administration negotiated the details of the final package with Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill.
But, on Sunday night, came Trump’s sudden reversal.
‘I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more,’ Trump said of signing the legislative package that a week earlier he called a ‘disgrace.’
The White House issued a strongly-worded statement from the president with the signing announcement, where Trump said he was sending it back with lines marking out the spending he wants cut.
‘I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,’ Trump said in the statement.
Additionally, many of the spending items in the federal budget that Trump wants cut were in his original budget request to Congress earlier this year.
The White House also claimed it was getting other concessions from Capitol Hill, including that the Senate will start the process for $2,000 stimulus checks, will repeal section 230 that gives protections to tech companies from lawsuits, and start investigation into voter fraud.
Trump previewed his signage in a tweet shortly before signing the bill at his Mar-a-Lago club: ‘Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!’
McConnell released a statement applauding Trump’s signing the $900 billion relief and funding package but made no mention of the three items Trump claimed he was getting the Senate to do.
‘I thank the President for signing this relief into law, along with full-year government funding legislation that will continue the rebuilding and modernization of our Armed Forces that his Administration has championed. His leadership has prevented a government shutdown at a time when our nation could not have afforded one,’ McConnell said.
‘I am glad the American people will receive this much-needed assistance as our nation continues battling this pandemic,’ he added.
He didn’t mention increasing the dollar amount in the checks.
TRUMP SIGNING STATEMENT
As President of the United States it is my responsibility to protect the people of our country from the economic devastation and hardship that was caused by the China Virus.
I understand that many small businesses have been forced to close as a result of harsh actions by Democrat-run states. Many people are back to work, but my job is not done until everyone is back to work.
Fortunately, as a result of my work with Congress in passing the CARES Act earlier this year, we avoided another Great Depression. Under my leadership, Project Warp Speed has been a tremendous success, my Administration and I developed a vaccine many years ahead of wildest expectations, and we are distributing these vaccines, and others soon coming, to millions of people.
As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child.
As President I am demanding many rescissions under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. The Act provides that, ‘whenever the President determines that all or part of any budget authority will not be required to carry out the full objectives or scope of programs for which it is provided, or that such budget authority should be rescinded for fiscal policy or other reasons (including termination of authorized projects or activities for which budget authority has been provided), the President shall transmit to both Houses of Congress a special message’ describing the amount to be reserved, the relevant accounts, the reasons for the rescission, and the economic effects of the rescission. 2 U.S.C. § 683.
I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.
I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP, return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more.
On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000. Therefore, a family of four would receive $5,200. Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed.
Likewise, the House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election.
The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.
Big Tech must not get protections of Section 230!
Voter Fraud must be fixed!
Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Trump to persuade Republicans in joining Democrats to expand the amount of the relief checks.
‘Now, the President must immediately call on Congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000, which will be brought to the Floor tomorrow. Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need,’ Pelosi said in statement Sunday night.
Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer issued his own pressure.
‘The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks. Then I will move to pass it in the Senate. No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?,’ he said.
Additionally, the current session of Congress ends on January 3rd, which leaves very little time on the calendar to get such work done.
Earlier Sunday night, before leaving his Mar-a-Lago home to have dinner at his Trump International Golf Club, the president hinted at his plans, tweeting: ‘Good news on Covid Relief Bill. Information to follow!’
A short time later, a source confirmed to DailyMail.com that Trump signed the bill Sunday evening at Mar-a-Lago.
After signing the bill, Trump still demanded the $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans in a statement that reads: ‘As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child.
Had Trump continued with his threat not to sign the legislation, the federal government would’ve run out of money at 12:01 am Tuesday.
In the face of growing economic hardship and spreading disease, lawmakers urged Trump on Sunday to sign the legislation immediately, then have Congress follow up with additional aid.
Aside from unemployment benefits and relief payments to families, money for vaccine distribution, businesses, cash-starved public transit systems and more is on the line. Protections against evictions also hang in the balance.
Senator Lindsey Graham arrived in Mar-a-Lago to play golf with Trump on Christmas Day and discuss the legislation with the president.
Other Republicans, including House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and several Republican senators spent the weekend working to convince Trump to sign off on the bill, multiple sources told Politico.
Republicans also took to the Sunday morning political shows to pressure Trump to sign the legislation.
Republican Sen Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said he understood that Trump ‘wants to be remembered for advocating for big checks, but the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire’.
‘So I think the best thing to do, as I said, sign this and then make the case for subsequent legislation,’ Toomey added during his appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
Additionally, the bipartisan group of lawmakers involved in the original negotiations issued a statement earlier Sunday demanding Trump sign the bill or veto it if he didn’t like it so Congress could vote on overriding that veto.
‘If your objection to the COVID-19 relief bill will prevent you from signing, please veto it immediately. You’ve made your position clear and rejecting it quickly will allow those in favor to act before it is too late,’ the lawmakers wrote.
‘Never before in your personal, professional, or political life have you been characterized as a man of inaction. Now is not the time to sit idly by – please do the right thing and sign or veto this bill immediately.’
The group included Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins along with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
‘Relieved that this long-awaited, bipartisan emergency #COVID19 legislation has finally been signed into law. Help is now on the way to workers, families, and small businesses across the country who are desperately in need,’ Romney tweeted after Trump signed the measure.
President Donald Trump (left) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (right) headed to the president’s West Palm Beach golf club on Christmas morning where Graham talked to Trump about the COVID relief and government funding bill
Many Republicans criticized the president on Sunday morning for refusing to sign the package.
On Saturday, two critical unemployment programs lapsed, ending millions of people’s unemployment benefits. While Trump’s signature returns the benefits, there could be a delay in the checks coming during the holidays.
Maryland Gov Larry Hogan, a Republican who’s criticized Trump’s pandemic response and his efforts to undo the election results.
‘I just gave up guessing what he might do next,’ he said.
Republican Rep Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said too much is at stake for Trump to ‘play this old switcheroo game’.
‘I don’t get the point,’ he said. ‘I don’t understand what’s being done, why, unless it’s just to create chaos and show power and be upset because you lost the election.’
Democrats also piled onto the president.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said Trump was behaving as an ‘extraordinary narcissist’ and was almost ‘pathologically narcissistic’ in his eleventh-hour crusade against the bill.
‘What the president is doing right now is unbelievably cruel,’ Sanders told ABC’s ‘This Week’ host Jonathan Karl in a Sunday interview.
‘Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits,’ the independent Vermont senator continued. ‘They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending. We are looking at a way to get the vaccine distributed to tens of millions of people. There’s money in that bill.’
Earlier on Saturday night, the president returned with another round of claims of election fraud in a fiery Twitter tirade in which he concluded ‘We will win’.
He blasted the FBI, the U.S. court system and the Department of Justice before declaring that the country’s electoral system is ‘like that of a third world country’.
Trump called on Republicans to help him fight for the presidency as he took further hits and the press and tech companies amid allegations of voter fraud that U.S. courts and the Justice Department have deemed to be unfounded.
‘Time for Republican Senators to step up and fight for the Presidency, like the Democrats would do if they had actually won,’ Trump wrote in a Twitter thread.
GOP Sen. Pat Toomey also railed against the president Sunday, claiming he will be remembered for ‘chaos and misery and erratic behavior’ if he doesn’t sign the coroanvirus relief bill that went to his desk last week
President-elect Biden pictured here, on his way to church in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday, had called on Trump to sign the legislation
‘The proof is irrefutable! Massive late night mail-in ballot drops in swing states, stuffing the ballot boxes (on video), double voters, dead voters, …fake signatures, illegal immigrant voters, banned Republican vote watchers, MORE VOTES THAN ACTUAL VOTERS (check out Detroit & Philadelphia), and much more,’ he added, despite his campaign having so far being able to offer no evidence to prove that any of these allegations were true and his lawsuits being dismissed.
‘The numbers are far greater than what is necessary to win the individual swing states, and cannot even be contested…. Courts are bad, the FBI and ‘Justice’ didn’t do their job, and the United States Election System looks like that of a third world country,’ Trump fumed.
‘Freedom of the press has been gone for a long time, it is Fake News, and now we have Big Tech (with Section 230) to deal with.
‘But when it is all over, and this period of time becomes just another ugly chapter in our Country’s history, WE WILL WIN!!!’ the president concluded.
President-elect Joe Biden had called on Trump to sign the bill immediately as the midnight Saturday deadline neared for two federal programs providing unemployment aid.
‘It is the day after Christmas, and millions of families don´t know if they´ll be able to make ends meet because of President Donald Trump´s refusal to sign an economic relief bill approved by Congress with an overwhelming and bipartisan majority,’ Biden said in a statement.
He accused Trump of an ‘abdication of responsibility’ that has ‘devastating consequences.’