A Republican from Kentucky said the House bill “does not have a realistic path to pass the Senate quickly,” and said the Democrat-led effort has strayed from President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pressed Republicans to pass the expanded stimulus checks, in fact.
“The Senate will not be intimidated into pushing more borrowed money into the hands of wealthy Democrats’ friends who don’t need help,” McConnell said.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who pushed for an immediate vote on the measure, criticized McConnell’s position and pressed Republicans to put the bill to a vote.
“At the very least, the Senate deserves the opportunity to vote in favor or down,” Schumer said, adding that “there is no other game in town than the House bill.”
But McConnell also made clear that nothing moving forward in the room did not include two other Trump priorities: the complete removal of online liability protection and an investigation of alleged voter fraud.
“The Senate will not separate from the three issues President Trump has linked together,” McConnell said in the Senate floor.
On Tuesday, McConnell introduced legislation that combined Trump’s three priorities – each a precondition for Trump’s signing of the Covid relief and spending package earlier this week. Trump himself has never specified that these three elements should be linked together.
But McConnell made it clear, in his remarks on Wednesday, that introducing his legislation conforms to the features of the agreement with Trump, which provides only for the start of the voting process on the issues.
As is currently the case, there are no scheduled votes on the McConnell bill, or the legislation passed by the House of Representatives, and Republican aides say the 116th convention will likely end without any action on increasing direct payments.
“The Senate was supposed to finish today the legislation that provides important tools, training and support for the US armed forces,” he said. But the younger senator from Vermont had other ideas.
McConnell added, “The Senate will maintain this important law until we complete it in one way or another.”
Sanders said he would delay the NDAA bypass vote unless McConnell brings checks for $ 2,000 for the ground vote. The final vote could be extended to Saturday if Sanders continues to disrupt it. In the end, though, it will pass. It’s just a matter of how long this takes.
CNN’s Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.