Mitch McConnell refuses to pass $2,000 Covid-19 relief checks again, says Senate can't be bullied into it
The chamber's majority leader tried to show that the Democrats' bill passed in the House didn't meet all of President Donald Trump's requests
The deep divisions within the Republican Party were out in the open over sending $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans as Mitch McConnell, the party’s leader in the Senate, thwarted on Wednesday, December 30, another attempt by the Democrats to pass a standalone bill to send the checks. The veteran also said that the chamber won’t be “bullied” into passing the bill.
McConnell, 78, objected after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to bring up a bill passed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would increase the check amounts from $600 to $2,000 to Americans fighting economic hardships in times of the pandemic. President Donald Trump also spoke in favor of raising the amount and even indicated that he could veto the massive government spending and coronavirus relief package bill. The president, however, signed the bill suddenly on December 27. The very next day, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill to raise the amounts but it has hit a wall in the Senate, thanks to McConnell who red-flagged immediate voting on the same on Tuesday, December 29.
McConnell adds election integrity to his own bill on Covid-19 relief
McConnell, who won his seventh Senate term last month, stopped the legislation on the tracks on December 30 and touted his own legislation instead even though it has little chance of getting approval. On Tuesday, December 29, the Kentucky lawmaker introduced his own version of a bill to raise the $600 stimulus checks from the relief package to $2,000 and also included two other major priorities for Trump. His legislation also aimed to repeal Section 230 -- the control liability protection for online platforms and set up a committee on the Election Assistance Commission to assess the integrity of elections. The added issues would make McConnell’s legislation unpopular with the Dems, observers felt.
The political deadlock is likely to prevent the Americans from getting a bigger relief as the pandemic continues to batter the economy.
McConnell, a millionaire, used Trump as the reason for him blocking it. He said the Democrat-introduced bill doesn’t meet the president’s request as it doesn’t address the other two issues that the latter wants to be addressed but the bill doesn’t talk about. Trump himself, meanwhile, tweeted “$2000 ASAP” on Wednesday, December 30.
$2000 ASAP!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2020
“The Senate is not going to be bullied,” McConnell said on the Senate floor, adding: “The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them.”
“The House bill pushed by Democrats 'does not align with what President Trump has suggested. And which has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,” he added.
Schumer slammed McConnell’s bill saying it has too much “partisan policy” to pass. “'There is no other game in town besides the House bill,” the 70-year-old said.
Time is running out for the Senate since the Congress adjourns for this session in another three days and any legislation which is not passed is considered dead and the process has to restart afresh on January 4.
McConnell’s relation with Trump has raised speculation in recent times after the former acknowledged Joe Biden as the president-elect after he won the November 3 presidential election. Trump, on the other hand, is yet to concede defeat against the former vice president claiming repeatedly that the election was compromised. Biden is set for inauguration on January 20.