McConnell Blocks Vote on $2,000 Stimulus Checks

December 29, 2020 by Dan McCue
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to the media after at the Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 10, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked a bid by Democrats on Tuesday to hold a stand-alone vote on increasing the amount of recently agreed upon stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000.

McConnell did not specifically explain why he objected to the proposed increase which passed the House in a 273-134 vote on Monday.

However he did raise the prospect of a separate bill in which the Senate would address not only the stimulus check increase, but other issues President Donald Trump wanted addressed in major spending bills that moved through Congress this month.

These are known to include a repeal of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which Trump and others believe is an unwarranted and unlawful legal shield for tech companies.

Section 230 shields social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook from liability for content their users post.

The tech industry maintains that the provision allows the internet to flourish, but critics, including the president, say companies either aren’t doing enough to combat harmful content, or are going too far with censorship. 

If McConnell were to try package the stimulus checks to an end of Section 230, it could potentially dramatically undermine Democrats support for such a measure.

The speaker did not identify the third subject the president wanted addressed, but it likely has something to do with the election.

“Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus,” McConnell said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., tried on Tuesday to get consent for the Senate to bring up the spending bill, arguing “the fastest way to get money into Americans’ pockets is to send some of their tax dollars right back from where they came.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who had threatened to filibuster the proceedings, also asked for a consent vote, but was similarly turned away by McConnell.

Earlier on Monday, McConnell signaled he’s got the votes to override President Trump’s veto of a mammoth defense policy bill as soon as Wednesday.

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