McConnell blocks $2,000 stimulus checks for third time and slams push for bigger payments as 'socialism for the rich'

SENATOR Mitch McConnell has again blocked $2,000 and slammed the push for bigger payments as "socialism for the rich."

The Senate majority leader said on Thursday that the coronavirus relief bill that was passed by the House would send "thousands of dollars to people who don’t need the help." 

McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, subsequently blocked requests from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Bernie Sanders to hold votes on more stimulus checks this week.

“Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it,” McConnell said.

“Washington Democrats took President Trump’s suggestion and skewed it so the checks would benefit even more high-earning households.”

McConnell claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sanders want to send money to people who haven't suffered financially this year.

“Imagine a family of five where the parents earn $250,000 per year and have not seen any income loss this past year. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders want to send them $5,000 from Uncle Sam."

Sanders, in response to McConnell on Thursday, said: "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?!”

He said of that in the bill, "virtually nothing goes to the very, very rich."

"The overwhelming majority of those funds go to the middle class, the working class, low-income people who in the midst of the pandemic are in desperate economic condition."

Sanders said this week that he will delay an override of Donald Trump’s defense bill veto in a bid to secure $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans.

Sanders previously said he would take advantage of Senate rules and filibuster – a delay tactic – to keep Congress tied up to get what he wants.

"McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I'm not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote…on the $2,000 direct payment," he said,

The Independent Vermont senator knows he can’t ultimately stop the veto override vote, but he can delay it until tomorrow ahead of new lawmakers being sworn in.

The $740billion defense bill includes pay raises for soldiers and funds for much-needed new equipment.

Trump had threatened to veto the bill as it doesn't include a repeal of Section 230 – a regulation that shields internet companies from being liable for what is posted on their websites.

Schumer said on Thursday: “Democrats are willing to vote on all the other issues the Republicans say the president supposedly cares about. Just let us vote on a clean bill for the $2,000 checks."

Earlier on Thursday, hope for $2,000 stimulus checks was growing as Republicans and Democrats have decided to join forces on the desperately needed money.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a stand-alone vote on the checks.

On Wednesday, McConnell similarly rejected a proposed vote on the money that would help Americans struggling during the pandemic.

"If you had a stand-alone vote on the $2,000 check, it might pass” in the Senate, Graham said on Fox News on Thursday morning.

“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 senator said that while “70 percent of Republicans don’t want to go to 2,000 [dollars]" on the checks, he's "with the president on this."

Trump has called for $2,000 stimulus checks, and Democrats have sided with him.

The majority of Republican lawmakers have been against the stimulus checks – citing concerns about a rise in the national debt.

“I know it sounds good, it feels good to give away money. Everybody loves benefits,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, said on Thursday.

“[But] somebody has got to be thinking about … the effect of this on our future generations,” he added.

On Tuesday, McConnell blocked the Democrats from bringing the bigger Covid-19 relief checks up for a vote, saying that the chamber would “begin a process” to address the issue alongside two other concerns.

The relief bill had been passed by the House one day earlier.

McConnell addressed Trump’s statement that called for not only larger checks but also new curbs on tech companies and an investigation into the election, according to The Washington Post.

“Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together,” McConnell said.

“This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus.”

Trump slammed McConnell's block as a "death wish" for the Republican party.

The president tweeted: "Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!"

Stimulus checks of $600 were agreed upon and on Sunday, Trump signed the relief bill.

McConnell has not elaborated on what action, if any, the Senate would take on stimulus checks

After Republicans destroyed a unanimous vote on the hefty cash sum last week, Pelosi said: "To vote against this bill is to deny the financial hardship that families face."

She continued: "In blocking it they are in denial of the hardship American people are experiencing – health wise, financially.

"In many ways their lives and livelihoods are on the brink.

"So they are in denial of this need, by denying this benefit. I do hope that in the days ahead – there are only a few days left in this session – that they will see the light and understand the suffering that is going on in our country."

"These Republicans in the Senate seem to have an endless tolerance for other people's sadness," she added.

She added: "If the president is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction."

The new stimulus package has an IRS deadline for January 15 – meaning payments must be decided and mailed by that date.

However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said some people could see the $600 in their bank accounts by Wednesday.

Trump, who not only called the nominal $600 a disgrace but also threatened to veto the bill, has called on Republicans to pass the $2,000 checks "ASAP."

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