After the weekly Republican Senate meeting held in the Mansfield meeting room of the U.S. Capitol on December 1, 2020, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) met with reporters.
Tom Williams | Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Mitch McConnell) on Tuesday rejected an attempt by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to increase the direct payment of the year-end coronavirus relief bill to $2,000 through a direct vote.
After the House of Representatives (almost all Democrats and dozens of Republicans voted in the Senate) voted Monday to increase cash deposits from $600 to $2,000, Kentucky Republicans are under pressure to act. Now, Senate Republicans are wary of spending more money on pandemic aid, and they must decide how to vote on the bill if President Donald Trump and Democrats try to maintain their majority.
McConnell brought the Chamber of Commerce back this week with a major goal: to overturn Trump̵
Despite this, the Democrats tried to use limited tools to vote. Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, McConnell said that he plans to vote on the veto issue on Wednesday.
He outlined three priorities for Trump to address when he expressed his hope that the signing of the Coronavirus Relief and Government Expenditure Act into law on Sunday: larger direct payments, Article 230 legal liability protection for Internet platforms, and extensive election Unfounded concerns about fraud. He did not disclose any specific plans. He said: “This week the Senate will begin to focus on these three priorities.”
Schumer then called on the Senate to vote on the veto of the defense bill and the $2,000 payment, and “let the bargaining chips fall within the possible range.” When McKennel asked for unanimous consent to increase the size of the check, he objected.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) then called for a large sum of money to be voted after Wednesday’s NDAA vote. McConnell objected again. Then, Sanders opposed Wednesday’s vote and continued to threaten to postpone the veto deliberation.
Since the Senate needs unanimous support to act quickly on most issues, any senator can choose to cease activities.
If the entire chamber considers stimulating inspection legislation, all 48 Democrats and independents working with it may vote for it. Then, it will need the support of 12 of the 52 Republicans in the chamber.
The Treasury Department stated that the $600 payment will begin this week. If Congress approves the increase to $2,000, it will be added to the original amount.
Since some Republican senators object to spending 900 billion dollars in the latest bailout plan, they may not support an increase of 463 billion dollars on the price tag (the joint tax committee increased the check to an estimated cost of 2,000 dollars). However, some Republicans, such as Senator Marcru Rubio of Florida, Kelly Loveller and David Perdue of Georgia, said they would support the $2,000 payment. Senator Josh Hawley (R. Mo.) asked for a $1,200 check early in the negotiation process, and he may also vote for an increase to $2,000.
If the Republicans decide not to vote on the bill, then the Republicans will have to despise the man who controls the Republicans: Trump. Since threatening to veto the aid bill last week, he has repeatedly demanded payment of $2,000.
He said that he hopes to increase direct payments and reduce foreign aid funds in the 1.4 trillion US dollar government funding plan passed at the same time as the rescue plan. Trump relaxed his actions on Sunday night and signed the bill into law, approved pandemic AIDS assistance, and prevented a government shutdown.
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, the president called for “$2,000 for our great men, not $600!”
A vote in the House of Representatives on Monday showed that the Republicans may beat Trump more easily. Only 44 Republicans supported the $2,000 check legislation, while 130 Republicans voted against it. Republicans and Democrats also easily overturned Trump’s veto of the defense bill.
Sanders’ move to keep the Senate in Washington this week may also hinder Georgian Republicans Loffler and Perdue from running in the crucial runoff on January 5. If Democrats win in both races (their response to the coronavirus among Republican senators has been hit hard), they will give up control of the Senate.
Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who participated in these contests, called Republican senators’ inadequate response to the coronavirus and forced them to support the $2,000 payment. In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Loeffler and Perdue advised them to support larger checks.
Loeffler said when asked if she was in an interview: “I’m with the President 100% of the time. I’m proud of this, and I absolutely said that we need to make Americans feel good now. I will support this.” The bill will be voted on.
Later on Twitter, she fully agreed with the $2,000 payment.
Perdue told Fox that he was “happy to support the president” and he asked for a deposit of $2,000.
Both countries have previously resisted efforts to include higher direct payments as part of the stimulus plan.
Efforts to expand the scale of direct payments are under the circumstances of widespread concern: whether the relief package has gone far enough to help Americans struggle to pay for housing and food. Congress has been unable to update the financial lifeline during the pandemic for several months, because millions of people have begun to fall into poverty, and this lifeline expires in the summer.
McConnell pushed for about $500 billion in new spending before agreeing to a $900 billion package. At the same time, the Democrats are calling for at least $2.2 trillion in aid.
The compromise package reached by the parties included a direct payment of $600, which is half of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. It also increased federal unemployment insurance benefits by $300, which is half of the increase payment approved by Congress in March. Legislators failed to renew the visa, and a weekly grant of $600 for the unemployed expired in July.
The new package includes $284 billion in forgivable “Salary Protection Program” loans. It also extended the federal eviction order to January 31 and established a $25 billion rental assistance fund.
The bill will spend more than US$8 billion on the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine and more than US$20 billion on providing it to Americans free of charge.
It also includes $82 billion in education funds and $45 billion in transportation expenses. As the pandemic intensified, it did not provide any assistance to troubled state and local governments.
— CNBC’s Hannah Miao contributed to this report