Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Wednesday announced that there was “no realistic path to quickly pass” $2,000 per-person stimulus checks, seemingly dooming the effort.
The lip service from President Donald Trump and a few key Republicans about supporting the checks in recent days appeared to be just that.
McConnell spent months battling even the smaller $600 checks that were eventually signed into law a few days ago, and he was unphased Wednesday by arguments for more.
“The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help,” McConnell said.
Democrats have loudly supported increasing the existing stimulus check amount to $2,000 per person, after Trump himself said the smaller amount was unacceptable as he signed it into law.
And Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), who are currently battling for next week’s runoff election in Georgia to determine the partisan balance of the Senate, sheepishly said Tuesday that they supported larger checks, too — emphasizing their support for Trump in the process.
The House 0f Representatives on Monday approved a clean bill on standalone $2,000 checks.
And the Senate could quickly take up a vote on the measure. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), responding to McConnell’s remarks, said “there is no other game in town” aside from the House bill.
Instead, according to McConnell, the checks proposal will be bundled together with a couple poison pills that Democrats say make the whole thing unpalatable: A commission to examine voter fraud in the 2020 election and the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields websites from liability for what their users post.
TPM’s emails to spokespeople for the Perdue, Loeffler and Trump — asking if they would pressure McConnell to hold a vote on the standalone $2,000 — went unanswered Wednesday.
Trump has tweeted, sure, but he hasn’t exactly called for McConnell to hold a clean vote on the matter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2020
After McConnell’s remarks panning the standalone $2,000 checks legislation, several Democrats attempted to call for a vote on the measure. One by one, Republican senators shot the attempts down.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who’s insisted he’ll object to a vote to override Trump’s veto of the annual defense spending bill until he gets a vote on $2,000 checks, called out Republicans for refusing to stand up and be counted.
“What the American people want now is an up-or-down vote,” Sanders said.
“All that I am asking for is the right, as a United States senator, to have the vote,” he continued. “And again, I ask you: What is your problem with members of the United States Senate — including a number of Republicans who have already indicated they would like to vote for this — what’s your problem with bringing that up as a single standalone bill?”