When President Trump signed the year-end spending and pandemic relief packages last week, lawmakers promised to consider his demand to increase the next round of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.
House lawmakers approved the increase with a vote of 275-134, with 44 Republicans joining Democrats in support of larger checks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected the House bill and introduced his own package that offers $2,000 stimulus checks. But it also overturns Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and sets up a commission to study voter fraud.
President Donald Trump cited his frustrations with Section 230 as one of the reasons he refused to sign the National Defense Authorization Act last week. Congress is expected to override Trump’s veto, though Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has threatened to delay that vote until the Senate agrees on stimulus payments.
Critics have accused McConnell of intentionally blocking the $2,000 checks by crafting legislation designed to fail, though all provisions of his bill are backed by President Trump.
McConnell’s proposal “will not pass the House and cannot become law – any move like this by Senator McConnell would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of the $2,000 survival check,” argues Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who backed a stand-alone vote on stimulus checks.
“Let’s not muddy the waters,” added Sanders. “Are you for $2,000 or are you not…That’s what the American people want to know.”
A handful of GOP Senators said they would support larger checks, but most Republicans are wary to increase the dollar amount of the stimulus package. Boosting stimulus checks t0 $2,000 would add another $463 billion to the $900 billion package. To get a stand-alone vote on stimulus checks through the Senate, 12 Republicans would need to join all Democrats.
Georgia Republican incumbent Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who face runoff elections on January 5th, both favor larger stimulus checks but haven’t voiced an opinion of McConnell’s proposal. If both Republicans lose, Democrats will gain control of the Senate.