Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning on delaying the Senate’s planned override of President Donald Trump’s defense bill veto unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brings the House-passed $2,000 stimulus check proposal to the floor.
“This week on the Senate floor Mitch McConnell wants to vote to override Trump’s veto of the $740 billion defense funding bill and then head home for the New Year,” Sanders said in a social media statement. “I’m going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class.”
In another post, he added: “The House passed a $2,000 direct payment for working people. Now it’s the Senate’s turn. If McConnell doesn’t agree to an up or down vote to provide the working people of our country a $2,000 direct payment, Congress will not be going home for New Year’s Eve.”
Sanders and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tried unsuccessfully to get unanimous consent from colleagues on higher checks earlier this month. Each were blocked by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
McConnell’s office didn’t respond to a query on whether he plans to bring the amendment to increase stimulus checks to a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 8, 2020. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)
McConnell announced last week that he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to return to session on Dec. 29 in preparation for Trump’s expected veto and the House’s expected override. He has not commented on the amendment to increase checks, which are part of a fresh COVID-19 relief bill that passed Congress but hasn’t yet been signed by Trump.
Schumer announced Monday night that he will move to pass the act during Tuesday’s session.
“There’s strong support for these $2,000 emergency checks from every corner of the country—Leader McConnell ought to make sure Senate Republicans do not stand in the way of helping to meet the needs of American workers and families who are crying out for help,” he said. Senators can pass bills via unanimous consent, avoiding a recorded vote but allowing legislation to be blocked by a single senator.
Other senators plan on delaying the override vote on the defense bill veto, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Markey said in a tweet that he would join Sanders’s effort to push for a vote on the direct cash payments.
“That relief passed in the House today with 44 Republicans voting for it. Senate Republicans must do the same and get the American people the help they need,” he said.