WASHINGTON – Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Senator has effectively dashed any chance that Congress would raise stimulus checks to $ 2,000 before President Trump leaves office.
Mr McConnell on Wednesday insisted that lawmakers would only consider one bill that would include the $ 2,000 checks on two other issues Mr Trump has asked Congress to do: investigate the integrity of the 2020 election and remove legal protections for social media platforms. Both are no beginners to Democrats, which will ruin any chance of such a law being passed.
In his opening speech, McConnell defiantly accused the Democrats of trying to push more money out the door. “The Senate is not bullied into throwing more borrowed money into the hands of the Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help,” he said.
That seemed to ignore the fact that Mr Trump was the one asking lawmakers to increase stimulus checks from $ 600 to $ 2,000 and criticizing his own party for not moving fast enough to provide more money .
“Unless the Republicans have a death wish, and if it is correct, they must approve the $ 2,000 payment as soon as possible. $ 600 is not enough! “The president wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
With four days left in the legislature, the tough stance effectively guarantees that, despite growing demands from Republican lawmakers to put more money in the hands of Americans, Mr. Trump will not receive any of his last-minute demands.
For days, Mr Trump held a bipartisan $ 900 billion hostage who said she did not write enough checks and refused to sign them. He finally gave in on Sunday, saying he had signed up by lawmakers to increase payments and address two other issues that upset him: his loss in the 2020 elections and legal protections for big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, the provided by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“The Senate will initiate the process for a vote that will increase checks to $ 2,000, revoke Section 230 and initiate an investigation into electoral fraud,” Trump said in a statement on Sunday, reiterating his unsubstantiated allegation of fraud 2020 elections.
Mr McConnell insisted that the President wanted these demands to be taken into account at the same time and accused the Democrats of “trying to give the President a quick one”.
“The Senate is not going to split up the three issues that President Trump has linked just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them,” McConnell said.
“They hope everyone just forgets about electoral integrity and great technology,” he said. “You absolutely want to ignore these two parts of President Trump’s request.”
However, Mr Trump continued to press for swift action to increase controls.
“$ 2000 ASAP!” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
While millions of Americans remain unemployed, many economists say that increasing the checks from $ 600 to $ 2,000 would most likely have a negligible impact on stimulating the economy, as a significant portion of those who receive payments are likely to save the funds and will not output. The stimulus payments are based on income level and not on employment status. The Democrats had asked for an additional $ 600 a week for unemployment benefits as that money would go directly to those out of work, but the Republicans denied that request, saying it would discourage people from looking for work.
On Monday, the House approved a bill increasing checks to $ 2,000, and Senate Democrats called on Mr. McConnell to allow a similar vote. After Mr McConnell finished his presentation on Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, tried again to immediately vote on the House bill, arguing that there were only a few days left in the legislature and the House of Representatives outside of session be. “There’s no other game in town.”
“At least the Senate deserves the opportunity to vote up or down,” said Mr Schumer, calling Mr Trump “our unlikely ally.” Mr McConnell again blocked his request as he did on Tuesday.
Mr Schumer and other Democrats warned that they would not support efforts to unite Mr Trump’s three demands into one law.
The bill Mr. McConnell made would set up a bipartisan commission to investigate electoral practices that “empower” and “undermine the integrity of the election,” such as the use of postal ballot papers and voting procedures that Mr Trump has baselessly complained of about encouraged election fraud. It would also repeal Section 230, a legal shield that prevents social media companies from being sued for much of the content users post on their platforms.
The economic aid package will issue payments of $ 600 and distribute federal unemployment benefits of $ 300 for a minimum of 10 weeks. Find out more about the measure and what’s in it for you. For more information on how to get help, please visit our hub.
- Do I get another incentive payment? Single adults with adjusted gross income For 2019 tax returns of up to $ 75,000 per year, you will receive a payment of $ 600, and a married couple (or someone whose spouse died in 2020) who earns up to $ 150,000 per year will receive double that amount . There is also a payment of $ 600 for each child for families who meet these income requirements. Individuals filing taxes with head of household status who earn up to $ 112,500 will also receive $ 600 plus the additional amount for children. People with incomes just above this level will receive a partial payment that decreases by $ 5 for every $ 100 of income.
- When could my payment arrive? The finance department said on December 29 that it had started making direct deposits and would be mailing checks the next day. However, it will take a while for everyone to receive their money.
- Does the agreement concern unemployment insurance? Legislators agreed to extend the length of time people can receive unemployment benefits and restart an additional federal benefit that is on top of the usual state benefits. But instead of $ 600 a week it would be $ 300. That will last until March 14th.
- I am behind on my rent or expect to be soon. Do I get relief? The deal calls for $ 25 billion to be distributed by state and local governments to help backward tenants. To get help, households have to meet several conditions: Household income (for 2020) must not exceed 80 percent of the area median income. At least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or residential instability. and individuals must be eligible for unemployment benefits or face direct or indirect financial difficulties due to the pandemic. The agreement states that priority will be given to support for lower-income families who have been unemployed for three months or more.
Mr Trump has attacked Section 230 for months, arguing without evidence that the law allows websites to censor conservative views.
Mr. McConnell’s decision to prevent a vote on larger checks is likely to spark the problem in two tight trick-taking competitions in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate.
Both Republicans who tried to keep their seats – Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue – on Tuesday approved the larger checks that met the demands of their Democratic challengers, who labeled the $ 600 meager, and phrased the decision as an attempt to support the president. Within minutes of Mr McConnell’s statements, the Senate Democratic campaign arm attacked Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue, calling their endorsement of the bill “empty gestures”.
Other Republicans – including Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri – have rallied over larger checks and defied their party’s concerns about increasing the federal budget deficit.
“I’m concerned about the debt, but working families have been badly hurt by the pandemic,” Rubio said said in a tweet. “That’s why I’ve supported $ 600 in direct payments to working families, and when I get the chance, I’ll vote to increase the amount.”
Even so, despite Mr Trump’s request, the vast majority of Republicans have shown little interest in major economic reviews, arguing that more direct payments should be targeted closely to those in need of the money most.
“I found the combination of the aid we gave to the American people, much more than just a direct payment of $ 600, about right. It has been targeted, ”Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander told reporters on Wednesday. “If we want to spend that much money we will prefer to target it.”
Democrats “want to spend the money on people who frankly have not suffered financial losses during the pandemic, and it’s just wasteful,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas.
Mr Cornyn said he felt the issue of larger checks would be unlikely to move forward, shaking off the question of whether Republicans were concerned about the political setback of denying Mr Trump his request.
“After spending $ 4 trillion?” Mr Cornyn replied, referring to the previous stimulus packages that Congress had passed. “No, not in a normal world.”