A bill to raise direct stimulus payment from $600 to $2,000 was blocked by the Senate for the third day in a row.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring the legislation forward by unanimous consent. McConnell called the House passed bill “socialism for rich people,” four times in his remarks.
“Our colleagues who purport to be the champions of vulnerable Americans now say that what struggling people really need is for Congress to stop focusing on targeted relief for them specifically and to instead send thousands of dollars to people who don’t need help,” McConnell said. “We do not need to let the Speaker of the House do socialism for rich people in order to help those who need help.”
Democrats want to pass a stand-alone bill that would increase the payment to $2,000 but McConnell warned on Wednesday that direct payments would be linked to legislation repealing Section 230, a legal shield for internet companies and creating a commission to look into this year’s election.
“Here is the deal,” McConnell said. “The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them.”
But Sen. Schumer is doubling down on Democrats’ stance to pass a stand-alone bill to raise payment.
“If leader McConnell wants a vote on these issues, we’re here for it. Just give us a vote on the House-passed bill and we can vote on whatever right-wing conspiracy theory you’d like,” Schumer said.
Responding to McConnell calling the bill “socialism for rich people ” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pointed to the massive tax cuts Republicans gave wealthy co-operations in 2018.
“The majority leader helped lead this body to pass Trump’s tax bill. You want to talk about socialism for the rich Mr. Majority Leader?!” Sanders said.
“The argument that this bill in any significant way benefits the rich is just inaccurate. Let us talk about who this bill does benefit. This bill benefits tens of millions of Americans who as a result of this pandemic have … lost their jobs,” he continued, according to The Hill. “All that we are asking is give us the opportunity to vote up or down on whether or not working families in this country should be able to receive a $2,000 check.”
Democrats aren’t the only ones calling for a vote on a stand-alone bill. Lindsey Graham went on Fox News on Thursday to urge McConnell to hold a stand-alone vote on increasing payment to $2,000.
“If you had a stand-alone vote on the $2,000 check, it might pass” the Senate. And although “70 percent of Republicans don’t want to go to 2,000 [dollars],” he said, “I’m with the president on this.”