In the opening minutes of the Senate’s New Year’s Eve session, McConnell objected after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to get a vote yet again.
‘Experts from across the political spectrum agree that our colleague from
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell crushed yet another Democratic effort to get a vote on a stand alone bill to increase COVID-19 stimulus checks to $2,000, something President Donald Trump and also progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders supports
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) again tried to get a vote on a stand alone $2,000 checks bill Thursday morning, while Sen. Bernie Sanders railed against comments made by McConnell, who likened the bill to ‘socialism for rich people’
That whipped up Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.
‘I am delighted to hear the majority leader talking about socialism for the rich … so let me talk about the socialism for the rich that the majority leader is enthusiastically supportive of,’ Sanders began.
The Vermont independent who twice ran for the Democratic presidential nomination pointed a finger at the Trump-backed tax bill that passed Congress in December 2017.
‘Under that bill Charles Koch, one of the very richest people in America, he has a net worth of $113 billion, that bill gave Mr. Koch a $1.4 billion tax break,’ Sanders said. ‘Majority leader that sounds to me like socialism for the rich. Ahhh!’
The $2,000 stand alone bill passed in the House starts cutting that amount for Americans who make more than $75,000.
Sanders and a small group of progressive Senate Democrats had wanted to delay the vote to overrule Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act to push McConnell on the $2,000 issue, but they were overruled by members of their own party who voted Wednesday night to start that process.
Schumer and also Vice President-elect Kamala Harris voted in favor of the motion to proceed.
Now proponents of the $2,000 checks are looking ahead to the new Congress, which starts on January 3 at noon.
During a Thursday morning appearance on ‘Fox & Friends,’ Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and top ally of Trump’s on Capitol Hill, said he supported the $2,000 checks measure and pushed McConnell to present a clean bill to the body after January 3.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the handful of Republicans who supports the $2,000 checks, said Thursday morning he wanted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to present a clean bill in the next Congress, which begins January 3
President Donald Trump, photographed leaving West Palm Beach, Florida Thursday, has pushed for the $2,000 check amount. He’s backed it using Twitter, but has done nothing yet to force McConnell’s hand
‘Here’s what I’d like – I’d like a stand-alone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check,’ Graham said. ‘We have seven Republicans who’ve already said they would vote for it. We need five more. I think if we had the vote, we would get there.’
The Senate will use the remainder of the session to deliver Trump his first veto loss.
The president had long promised to veto the huge defense bill, first over the inclusion of a provision to rename military bases named for Confederate figures.
More recently, Trump threatened to veto the large piece of legislation if Congress didn’t retool section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which the president argued gives ‘big tech’ companies like Facebook and Twitter too much legal protection.
McConnell had offered on Tuesday a bill that included the $2,000 provision, but also killed off section 230, while also creating an election commission – two Trump demands.
That bill was a poison pill for Democrats, though Schumer said Thursday he’d support voting on each of those proposals individually.
Trump was headed back to Washington, D.C., Thursday after spending Christmas at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
He tweeted ‘$2000 ASAP!’ Wednesday morning, but has since dedicated his Twitterfeed to complaints about the election.