Sanders to slow down NDAA veto override in bid to get vote on $2K checks proposal

Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to slow down the Senate’s vote on overriding President Trump’s veto of a mammoth defense policy bill unless leadership agrees to hold a vote on increasing the amount of recently passed coronavirus relief checks from $600 to $2,000. 

Sanders announced his plans in a tweet Monday as the House passed legislation to boost the amount of the direct payments included in the $2.3 trillion package signed by Trump on Sunday night. 

“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. I’m going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class,” Sanders tweeted. 

A spokesman for Sanders confirmed that he will object to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) setting up a vote on the veto override of the defense bill until a proposal to increase the amount of the direct payments to $2,000 is also voted on. 

Sanders can’t ultimately prevent the Senate from voting on whether to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which initially passed the Senate earlier this month in a 84-13 vote, with Sanders voting “no” at the time. 

But McConnell is likely to have to move to break a rare filibuster of the veto override effort, forcing it to overcome a 60-vote procedural hurdle and delaying a final vote on Trump’s veto message for days until later this week. The veto override will ultimately need a two-thirds vote to pass the Senate. 

In addition to Sanders, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said he would similarly slow down the NDAA vote in an effort to get one on increasing the amount of direct assistance provided as part of the $2.3 trillion package. 

“I will be joining @BernieSanders in blocking the defense bill until we get a vote on $2000 in direct cash relief. 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,” Markey tweeted. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to try to clear the House-passed bill increasing the amount of direct assistance through the Senate on Tuesday. But because it will take only one senator to block his request, he’s expected to fall short. 

Senate leaders were likely to already have to jump through the days-long procedural hoops on the veto override. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), McConnell’s No. 2, predicted earlier this month that there would be objections to a quick vote on whether to override Trump’s veto. 

The Senate will return on Tuesday, with McConnell previously announcing that the chamber would have the “opportunity to process a veto override” if it passed the House, which it did on Monday in an 322-87 vote. The House vote marked the first time either chamber has been able to successfully override one of Trump’s nine vetoes. 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) signaled to reporters earlier this month that he intended to slow down the Senate’s consideration of the veto. 

“I very much am opposed to the Afghan war, and I’ve told them I’ll come back to try to prevent them from easily overriding the president’s veto,” Paul told reporters.

Tags Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer coronavirus relief coronavirus stimulus checks direct payments Donald Trump Ed Markey John Thune Mitch McConnell NDAA NDAA veto NDAA veto override Rand Paul stimulus checks Trump veto override

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