Senator Bernie Sanders announced that he will be delaying the Senate’s planned override of President Trump’s defense bill veto until Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell introduces the proposal of $2,000 stimulus checks. The House of Representatives has already passed the stimulus that aims to give every American citizen $2,000 instead of the currently approved $600. “This week on the Senate floor, Mitch McConnell wants to vote to override Trump’s veto of the $740 billion defense funding bill and then head home for the New Year… I’m going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class,” he said in a social media post.
Earlier this month, Sanders and Republican Josh Hawley had tried getting Senate approval on higher stimulus amounts. However, their efforts were blocked by Republican Senator Ron Johnson.
On Dec. 28, the House of Representatives amended the pandemic bill to boost the direct payments to $2,000. Known as the CASH Act, it was passed in the House with a 275-134 majority. Under this bill, Americans with an annual income of up to $75,000 can benefit from the program in full. For married couples, the income limit is set at $150,000. If an individual or couple earns more than the set limit, they receive smaller checks.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES) is not only concerned with the welfare of individuals, but also provides assistance to small businesses. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that has been established by the CARES Act offers small businesses with funds that will be enough to cover up to eight weeks of payroll costs, including all the benefits. Money can also be used by the business to pay for utilities, rent, mortgages, and so on. PPP is implemented by the Small Business Administration with the support of the Department of Treasury.
President Trump used the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to demand that Congress raise the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000. With the higher amount approved in the Democrat-majority House, it is now up to the Republican-majority Senate to decide on the issue.
Trump asked Republicans to approve the increased stimulus checks at the Senate after McConnell blocked an attempt to pass the bill. “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!” he said in a tweet.
All the Democrats in the Senate currently support the bill. At least 12 Republicans have to support the bill to get it passed in case it comes to a vote. At present, only three Republicans have publicly announced their support for the bill — Marco Rubio, David Perdue, and Josh Hawley.
On Tuesday, McConnell introduced a competing bill that combines the $2,000 stimulus checks with other issues raised by Trump, like a review of election fraud and repealing Article 230 that protects social media companies from being liable to the content posted by its users. He has also asked other Republicans to support Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2021.
Senate Minority Leader Democrat Chuck Schumer said in a statement: “If Sen. McConnell tries loading up the bipartisan House-passed CASH Act with unrelated, partisan provisions that will do absolutely nothing to help struggling families across the country, it will not pass the House and cannot become law — any move like this by Sen. McConnell would [be] a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a $2,000 survival check… Will Senate Republicans go along with Sen. McConnell’s cynical gambit or will they push him to give a vote on the standalone House-passed CASH Act?”