An unusual battle in Congress over President Donald Trump’s demand for US $ 2,000 (A $ 1,640) coronavirus aid checks to Americans moves to the Senate where Republicans are under pressure to approve relief additional.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives on Monday approved direct payments by 275-134 votes, and Senate Democrats plan to push Mitch McConnell, the Republican House leader, to allow a floor vote on the legislation.
They threatened to block Senate proceedings until he did.
The Senate is already expected to take action to override Trump’s veto on a $ 740 billion defense policy bill. The House voted to overturn the veto on Monday by 322-87, with most Republicans voting with a large majority of Democrats.
If the Senate supports the action of the House, the bill becomes law. It would be the first waiver of Trump’s presidency veto, which will end on January 20 when Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Senate action on the veto was expected on Wednesday but could now be delayed by wrangling over coronavirus aid payments.
An $ 892 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief plan and $ 1.4 trillion spending bill that Trump enacted on Sunday contains $ 600 checks for those hard hit by a pandemic that has infected more than 19 million Americans and killed over 333,000.
Trump’s signing of the package prevented the US government from shutting down, but he also pushed for stimulus checks to be raised to US $ 2,000, and he reaffirmed that demand on Tuesday, tweeting: “Give people 2 US $ 000, not US $ 600. They suffered enough! “
Democrats were happy to take advantage of it. They pushed for a quick vote in the House on Monday and enough Republicans backed it to pass.
But the proposal faces a much more difficult path in the Republican-led Senate, where many Tories oppose higher payments they believe could add hundreds of billions of dollars to the cost of COVID relief. -19.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has expressed early support for checks.
“I agree with the president that millions of working class families are in urgent need of more help, which is why I am supporting $ 2,000 in direct payments,” he said. in a press release.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who has defended higher direct payments to Americans, threatened Monday night to prevent the Senate from moving quickly to override Trump’s veto on the defense bill until McConnell agrees to authorize a vote on the $ 2,000 checks.
“This week in the Senate, Mitch McConnell wants to vote to overturn Trump’s veto on the $ 740 billion defense funding bill and then go home for the New Year,” Sanders said on Twitter.
“I will oppose until we get a vote on legislation to provide direct payment of US $ 2,000 to the working class.”