Republican President Donald Trump’s efforts to increase from $600 to $2000 direct payment amount for jobless Americans is likely to be ended in a stalemate since the fellow Republicans in the Senate are opposing the President’s latest move. The position of the Republicans was clear when the United States (US) Senate leader, Mitch McConnell expressed to decline to fix a schedule for the vote for the proposed change in the legislation that already made into law on Sunday. On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, McConnell said on the Senate floor that the legislation change proposed by the President backed by the leaders of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives “has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.”
Trump’s Persistence for Bigger Relief Checks
Trump, who is soon leaving the White House, signed a $2.3 trillion coronavirus aid bill on Sunday, December 27, 2020, after a week-long withheld bill after it was unanimously approved by Congress. Trump withheld the bill after the congress unanimously passed it nearly a week ago arguing that the relief fund was weak and the unemployment benefit amount mentioned in the bill must be increased from $600 to $2000. After signing the bill, Trump claimed that both the House and Senate would soon take up measures to increase the direct payments package to $2,000.
The House of Representatives and several economists supported Trump’s move arguing that the financial aid mentioned in the bill must be increased to support the ailing economy as well as jobless Americans. The Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also urged Republicans to support the change in the bill by stating, “every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need.” Following the new development, a fellow Republican and leader of Senate Majority, McConnell expressed his reluctance to support the proposed change in the legislation.
On Tuesday, Trump expressed his discontent and called Republican leaders “pathetic” after he accused the party of not supporting the raising stimulus package for the jobless Americans. Showing his intense commitment, Trump pressurized fellow Republicans to back the bigger checks for struggling Americans in a series of tweets on Twitter early on Wednesday. He wrote, “$2000 ASAP!”
McConnell Confirms Senate’s Opposed to Trump’s Move
McConnell, who leads the Senate’s floor, expressed that the Senate would not support the proposed change and insisted that they could block the move of Democrats since Congress has approved the bill. Referring to the wide support from Democrats and in an attempt to turn down the President’s pressure, McConnell stated on the Senate floor emphasizing, “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help.” The Republican lawmaker has stated that the financial aid included several provisions to support every section of ailing industries and had brought a major relief to about 14 million Americans.
Democrats insisted that the relief aid was still inadequate to support the mass of employment people, who have been adversely affected by the widespread pandemic that had taken more than 340,000 lives in the country. Reflecting the adamant nature of the lawmaker, Democratic Senator Gary Peters told CNN, “Let folks vote. Mitch McConnell has the ability to do that … He simply is unwilling to do that and the American people are going to be hurt.”
In a similar view, Republican Senator John Cornyn told reporters that Congress was not willing to act now to increase the checks mentioned in the bill. In a response to a question about McConnell’s remarks, Cornyn stated that no pressure was mounted against the Senate leader since the bill approved by Congress included trillions of dollars financial relief for economic reconstruction impacted by the pandemic.
Supporting Increase Check
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer criticized McConnell for ignoring the proposed change to increase pandemic relief stimulus. Schumer said, “Senator McConnell knows how to make $2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them… 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 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?”
Meanwhile, some Republican senators supported the stimulus package increase. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who face runoff elections in Georgia next week, had been supporting the payment increase and the result of the Georgia runoff would decide the Senate decision. The runoff elections in Georgia on January 5 will decide which party controls the Senate. Meanwhile, the gap between the soon outgoing President Trump and Republicans in the US Congress became very clear on Wednesday since the Senate had decided to override Trump’s veto of a defense policy bill. On Wednesday, the Senate voted 80-12 to start debate regarding the defense budget and the procedural vote is due on Friday. Similarly, the House of Representatives voted in favor of overriding Trump’s defense bill veto on Monday.
Observing the limited time Trump has, as he is leaving the White House on January 20, 2021, and the Democratic President Joe Biden will take over as the 46th President of the US, the proposed change in the bill is very unlikely to happen soon. Thus, Democrats are now planning to take the matter after Biden comes into the office of President in January.