On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked the Democrats’ attempt to organize a stand-alone vote regarding President Donald Trump’s request to increase the amount of COVID-19 relief checks to $2,000 from $600.
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made an attempt to get the consent for the Senate to bring up the relief bill. The said bill passed the House on Monday with a 273-134 vote.
The Senate has a rule where one Senator has the ability to block the push for a vote or for passing a bill. While many GOP Senators also support Trump’s call to increase the worth of stimulus checks to $2,000, McConnell was able to block it due to this rule. However, McConnell did not state his reasons for doing so, nor did he mention any clear plan ahead.
He only said: “During this process, the president highlighted three additional issues of national significance he would like to see Congress tackle together …Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus.”
Democrats Try to Organize a Vote
While McConnell wants to tie the three issues brought forward by President Trump, Democrats want to vote on the relief checks alone.
Regarding his push for the vote, Schumer said: “The fastest way to get money into Americans’ pockets is to send some of their tax dollars right back from where they came. Two-thousand dollar stimulus checks could mean the difference between American families having groceries for a few extra weeks or going hungry.”
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Meanwhile, Sanders attempted to organize a vote for Wednesday. With McConnell objecting, Sanders retaliated by blocking the GOP senator from organizing a vote on overriding the president’s veto of the defense bill. The senator from Vermont intends to block any action regarding the override until the vote on relief checks happen.
Call for a Vote
McConnell’s blocking of the vote pits him head to head with other Republican senators who supported President Trump’s call.
On Twitter, the president reiterated that the amount on stimulus checks should be $2,000 instead of what was initially passed.
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
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Miss.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) also called for action regarding the relief checks.
“We’ve got the votes. Let’s vote today,” Hawley tweeted.
We’ve got the votes. Let’s vote today https://t.co/woFBHPMSjz
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 29, 2020
Meanwhile, Rubio stated: “I agree with the president that millions of working-class families are in dire need of additional relief, which is why I support $2,000 in direct payments.”
The COVID-19 relief package needs 60 votes to pass the Senate. This means at least 12 Republicans need to support the call made by President Trump.