Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blocked legislation to send $2,000 payments to Americans.
And later, more attempts to pass $2,000 payments were blocked by other Republican senators including Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa. and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
McConnell stated there was “no realistic path” for the $2,000 checks to “quickly pass the Senate.”
“Look, it’s no secret that Republicans have a diversity of views about the wisdom of borrowing hundreds of billions more to send out more non-targeted money,” McConnell said.
“Our duty is to get help to the people who need help. Like we did to an historic degree just four days ago.”
How do Democrats feel about this position?
Bernie Sanders is still attempting to block consideration of an effort to override Trump’s veto on the defense bill.
It’s still not clear to me that this would be a 100% effective strategy but it could force the Senate to spend New Year’s day in Washington unless McConnell agrees to allow the vote on the $2,000 direct payments.
“It’s about basic democracy,” Sanders said.
“All that Senator Schumer and I are asking of the majority leader is a very simple request: Allow the members of the United States Senate to cast a vote.
“What’s the problem?”
It’s hard not to agree with Bernie Sanders that a vote is at least deserved on this issue.
Most Americans surveyed say that the $600 payments are simply not enough and it’s difficult to ignore that fact.
“They are in denial of the hardship that the American people are experiencing now,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.
“Health wise, financially, in every way. Their lives and livelihood in many cases are on the brink. So, they’re in denial of that need in denying this benefit.”
One of the main Republican counter arguments is that checks will be going to wealthier Americans who did not lose any income during the pandemic.
“It is hardly clear that the federal government’s top priority should be sending thousands of dollars to, for example, a childless couple making well into six figures who have been comfortably teleworking all year,” McConnell said.
I think this is a very legitimate concern.
For example, a family of four would receive an $8,000 stimulus check if $2,000 checks were sent out and they would have to make $310,000 before the entire payment would end.
If you are making $250,000 and your household consist of four members, what are the chances you need relief compared to a household of four making under $50,000?
So I do think they could do better with the targeting but for something like pandemic relief, you don’t want perfect to become the enemy of good.
Regardless, it doesn’t seem like the newly proposed McConnell bill containing $2,000 stimulus checks will get anywhere.
Even if it were to pass the Senate with the necessary 60 votes, there doesn’t seem to be time to get it passed in the House before the end of the Congress.
“Any modification or addition to the House bill cannot become law before the end of this Congress. It’s a way to kill — to kill — the bill,” Schumer said.
“Make no mistake about it. Either the Senate takes up and passes the House bill, or struggling American families will not get $2,000 checks during the worst economic crisis in 75 years.”
So there still is a way for $2,000 checks to go out but it would require the Senate to take up the bill that has already been passed in the House. That doesn’t seem very likely at this point.
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