McConnell on December 30 blocked the House-passed bill, which sought to raise the $600 checks in the recent stimulus package, and essentially eliminated all opportunities to do so before Congress closes this weekend, The Washington Post reported. McConnell argued that the bill would benefit high-income individuals who did not need the payments but would still qualify, CNN said.
“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,” the Kentucky Republican said from the Senate floor, according to CNN.
This is the second time the legislation has hit a roadblock from Republicans.
On December 27, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus package, including $600 stimulus checks and a weekly $300 federal unemployment supplement for 11 weeks, Business Insider said. However, five days before, Trump slammed the bill as “wasteful spending” and demanded Congress increase the “ridiculously low” stimulus checks to $2,000.
Republicans on Christmas Eve morning first blocked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s attempt to fulfill the president’s request, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The House then approved on December 28 the recent standalone bill — to which McConnell prevented from hitting the Senate floor on Wednesday.
During his speech on December 30, McConnell warned that no legislation will move forward in the Senate unless it includes a “full repeal of online liability protections and an investigation into alleged voter fraud,” two of Trump’s main priorities, CNN reported.
“We just approved almost a trillion dollars in aid a few days ago,” McConnell said from the Senate floor, according to CNN. “It struck a balance between broad support for all kinds of households and a lot more targeted relief for those who need help most.”
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Slammed McConnell’s Latest Decision
According to CNN, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed his Republican counterpart’s decision to for prevent the American public from benefitting from the higher checks.
He again pushed for an immediate vote on the bill, the outlet reported.
“At the very least, the Senate deserves the opportunity for an up-or-down vote,” the Senate minority leader expressed, CNN said.
“There is no other game in town than the House bill,” Schumer added, according to the outlet.
His calls were again dismissed by McConnell, The Guardian noted.
McConnell Introduced Tuesday Other Legislation Combining Trump’s 3 Priorities
According to The Guardian, McConnell on Tuesday introduced legislation that combined the president’s top three priorities. Each of the priorities were a “prerequisite” for Trump to sign the stimulus bill and spending package earlier in the week, CNN said.
“Trump himself has never specified that those three items should be tied together,” CNN reported. “But McConnell, in his remarks Wednesday, made clear that the introduction of his legislation met the contours of the agreement with Trump, which stipulated only starting the process to vote on the issues.”
There are currently no votes scheduled on McConnell’s legislation or the House-passed bill, the outlet continued.