Mitch McConnell digs in against $2,000 checks: 'Senate is not going to be bullied'

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday said Republicans wouldn’t be “bullied” into a scattershot handout of $2,000 stimulus checks, declaring the effort all but dead in the upper chamber.

He said the nearly $500 billion plan pushed by Democrats would drive up debt and shower money on Americans regardless of whether they are affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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,” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor.

He said the plan, which is also backed by President Trump, had “no realist path to quickly pass the Senate.”

Later, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called for an immediate up-or-down vote on the $2,000 payments, saying time was running out to help suffering Americans.

“The only way to get the American people the $2,000 checks they deserve and need is to pass the House bill and pass it now,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat.

The extra spending would be on top of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package signed this week by Mr. Trump. It included $600 direct payments to individuals making $75,000 a year or less.

Those checks are already being sent out.

The House-passed bill to increase the checks to $2,000 would send the checks to families making well above six figures, including some families of four making $300,000 and families of three making $250,000 a year.

“It’s no secret Republicans have a diversity of views about the wisdom of borrowing hundreds of billions more to send out more non-targeted money, including to many households that have suffered no loss of income during the crisis,” said Mr. McConnell.

On Tuesday, Mr. McConnell linked any vote on $2,000 checks to a repeal of liability protection for Big Tech, which are both priorities for Mr. Trump.

Democrats have been delaying a vote on a major defense bill to force a vote on increasing the direct payments to $2,000.

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