$2,000 stimulus checks dead as Democrats give away leverage on defense bill

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President Trump’s request for $2,000 COVID-19 stimulus checks is essentially dead after Senate Democrats on Friday gave up on using a $740 billion defense bill as leverage.

The Senate easily cleared the 60 vote threshold to proceed to a vote on Trump’s override of the defense bill, which he vetoed this month.

The vote was 80-12.

Democrats led by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had used the override vote as a last stand in favor of the $2,000 checks, which passed the House on Monday.

The Senate still has to override Trump’s veto, which it’s expected to do before the next session of Congress begins at noon on Sunday. It will be the first veto of Trump’s presidency.

Trump vetoed the defense bill because it did not repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields social media companies that host third-party content, because it seeks to hamstring his drawdown of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 in November to 2,500 by Jan. 15. He also opposed a provision forcing the renaming of 10 military bases that honor Confederates.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) refused to allow a vote on the proposed $2,000 checks unless Democrats agreed to repeal legal protections for social media companies and to establish a voter fraud commission.

Any bill to increase just-approved $600 checks to $2,000 will need to again pass the House.

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