McConnell signals House $2,000 stimulus checks bill won’t pass Senate

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday ripped a House-passed proposal to increase the amount of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, signaling that it won’t pass the Senate.

McConnell’s remarks underscore that Congress is unlikely to get a proposal to increase the stimulus checks to President Trump’s desk by noon Sunday, the start of the 117th Congress.

The House passed a bill Monday to increase the amount of the stimulus checks included in a recent $2.3 trillion package, but McConnell said Wednesday that the Senate would not pass a stand-alone bill on checks.

“The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them. The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats rich friends who don’t need the help,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

McConnell argued that the House-passed bill “does not align with what President Trump has suggested” and “has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.” 

McConnell and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) blocked the House bill on the Senate floor on Wednesday. McConnell also blocked it twice on Tuesday. 

Instead, the GOP leader is pointing to a competing bill that he introduced on Tuesday that ties an increase in the $600 stimulus checks to a repeal of a liability shield used by tech companies and a commission to review the 2020 election.

“To ensure the president was comfortable signing the bill into law, the Senate committed to beginning one process that would combine three of the president’s priorities. …Three of the president’s priorities in one Senate process,” McConnell said. 

Trump, in his statement on signing the $2.3 deal that included $900 billion for coronavirus relief, said the Senate would “start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.”


But that bill, Democrats argue, cannot pass the Senate because it would crater support from Democrats, who have said they would unanimously back the House-passed bill.

“At the very least, the Senate deserves the opportunity for an up-or-down vote on increasing the individual payments to the American people,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

And if the Senate passes any bill besides the language that has already passed the House it would require the legislation to bounce back to the House and be passed. The House has left town until Sunday, when the 117th Congress starts.

If Congress misses the noon deadline on Sunday, it will need to start over again.

“There is no other game in town beside the House bill,” Schumer said. “Any modification to the House bill cannot become law before the end of this Congress. It’s a way to kill, to kill the bill.” 

Updated at 4:03 p.m.


Tags Chuck Schumer Coronavirus COVID-19 direct payments Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Pat Toomey stimulus checks

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