McConnell Introduces Bill Tying $2,000 COVID Payments to 2 Major Trump Priorities


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday introduced legislation authorizing direct payments of $2,000 to Americans, but with provisions to which Democrats will likely object.

The bill combines $2,000 payments with a repeal of Section 230 — a provision that grants sweeping legal protections to social media companies — and the establishment of a commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Though Democrats support President Donald Trump’s push for $2,000 stimulus payments, they have opposed his efforts to abolish Section 230 and calls to investigate allegations of fraud.

McConnell has so far resisted holding a vote on any legislation regarding increased stimulus checks even as senators from both parties signal their support for one.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Tuesday that he would filibuster the Senate’s vote to override Trump’s veto of the annual defense bill, keeping the chamber in session through the New Year, unless it held a vote on $2,000 checks.

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Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted on Tuesday that he “would not consent to a vote on the bad defense bill” unless the Senate votes on the payments.

Democrats criticized McConnell’s bill, which is all but certain to fail.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the bill a “cynical gambit” and an attempt to sabotage the passage of $2,000 checks.

Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy echoed Schumer, saying that the bill is “just another way of telling the American people that this body doesn’t support $2,000 payments.”

Though legislation authorizing $2,000 checks has the support of Trump and passed the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote, multiple Senate Republicans have come out against the measure.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said the bill was “not sound economic policy” given its size, and Texas Sen. John Cornyn said it ignored the amount of relief that Congress has already granted.

“This is just opportunistic on the part of the House [Democrats],” Cornyn said. “They’ve got an issue and unfortunately it seems to be drowning out all of the other good stuff we’ve done.”

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McConnell’s bill appears to address some of the demands Trump made when he signed the $600 coronavirus relief bill on Sunday.

Specifically, he called for the Senate to “start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.”

McConnell has yet to schedule a vote on his legislation.

Trump has continued to pressure Republican senators to pass legislation authorizing more lucrative payments, tweeting on Tuesday that those who oppose doing so have a “death wish” and that passing $2,000 checks is “the right thing to do.”

Several GOP senators have come out in support of the legislation, including Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

The two are running in dual Senate runoffs on Jan. 5 which will determine control of the chamber.

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