Senate Gets Tense as GOP Again Blocks $2K Payments

Schumer blames McConnell, who rips 'cash giveaways'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2021 5:00 PM CST
Tension Builds as GOP Blocks 'Last Chance' for $2K Checks
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks Wednesday in the Capitol.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Time ran out Friday on winning congressional approval of raising coronavirus relief payments from $600 to $2,000, as senators spent the holiday arguing the issue. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on the increase for the fourth straight day, the Hill reports. Congress adjourns on Saturday. Saying it was the last chance to approve the House bill that calls for sending bigger payments to Americans, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor that "if the Senate does not take action today, $2,000 checks will not become law before the end of Congress and they will know that Leader McConnell and the Republican majority have prevented them from getting the checks." Schumer asked for a vote, saying "I've done it every day this week," and was rejected. Sen. Bernie Sanders's voice grew louder, per CNN, as he repeated, "Bring the bill to the floor."

When McConnell spoke, he ripped the bill as "socialism for rich people" and "universal cash giveaways regardless of needs." Sen. Lindsay Graham split with his Senate leader in a tweet Friday, per the Hill. "With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, a $2k direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism," Graham posted. "In my view it is necessary in the times in which we live." President Trump also wants the payments to be $2,000. President-elect Joe Biden has said he favors another round of stimulus checks, per CNET, though he hasn't specified an amount. (More economic stimulus package stories.)

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