Mitch McConnell Blocks $2,000 Stimulus Checks Supported By Democrats & Trump
President Donald Trump is leaning on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to support him in his push to raise the stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600. Republicans are currently divided over the checks, with some speaking up in support while others are complaining that the income thresholds for the new checks are too high.
McConnell blocked Democrats’ bid to increase the direct payments on Tuesday, giving an unclear commitment to the issue and adjourning the Senate for the day without sharing his personal position on the additional stimulus.
Trump responded to McConnell’s decision to block the proposals, tweeting, “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP.”
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
A bill was introduced that would increase the payments, repeal legal protections for social media companies and establish election fraud commissions, a proposal being pushed by Trump.
“Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “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 across the country.”
In a floor speech, McConnell mentioned Trump’s demand to increase the amount, limit legal protections on tech companies and investigate election fraud as a condition for signing the $900 billion bill on Sunday, but did not tackle those issues fully.
“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,” he said.
McConnell has prioritized action on overriding Trump’s veto of a defense bill, which happened on New Year’s Day.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) noted that Congress has spent $4 trillion on the pandemic and should focus on the $900 billion package recently approved, which includes $600 checks.
“There’s still some discussions, whether it could be coupled up with something else,” Cornyn said. “This is just opportunistic on the part of the House. They’ve got an issue and unfortunately it seems to be drowning out all the other good stuff we’ve done.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) thinks $2,000 is too high and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) raised concerns about the target audience of the checks, whether they should be more focused on frontline worker and working-class Americans.