Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday blocked Senate Democrats’ initial attempt to increase direct COVID relief payments to $2,000, a day after the House voted to boost cash deposits from $600 to $2,000.
McConnell’s objection to considering the House bill that would increase COVID relief payments comes as President Trump and some Senate Republicans — which include Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), who are both up for re-election in the Georgia runoff elections next month that will determine the balance of the Senate — throwing their support behind the bill.
In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said he planned to set up a Wednesday vote on the veto override as he outlined three priorities shared by Trump when signing the COVID relief and government spending bill into law Sunday: larger direct payments, Section 230 legal liability protections for internet platforms and unsubstantiated claims about widespread election fraud.
“Those are the three important subjects the President has linked together,” McConnell said. “This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus.”
Following McConnnell’s speech, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) requested that the Senate take up the House-passed bill.
“There’s a major difference in saying you support $2,000 checks and fighting to put them into law,” Schumer said. “The House bill is the only way to deliver these stimulus checks before the end of session. Will Senate Republicans stand against the House of Representatives, the Democratic majority in the Senate, and the President of their own party to prevent these $2,000 checks from going out the door?”
McConnell swiftly objected to Schumer’s request without comment.