This is my stimulus update for Tuesday, December Twenty-Ninth.
As we all expected, the House of Representatives passed the two-thousand-dollar stimulus check bill yesterday, final vote was two-seventy-five to one-thirty-four, and now Mitch McConnell is in an absolute pickle.
For months, McConnell has said that he wants stimulus to be targeted, targeted, targeted, even putting up skinny bills on the Senate floor that did not include any stimulus checks. And now he has pressure from the president for two thousand dollar stimulus checks, and I don’t think Mitch cares much about that, and he also has pressure from the Democrats for two thousand dollar stimulus checks, and I don’t think he cares about that, but now there are more Republican Senate voices saying that they support two thousand dollar stimulus checks: Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, probably Lindsey Graham, and yes, the two Republican senators from Georgia, Loeffler and Perdue, who are running against Democratic challengers in the runoff election a week from today, assuming all Dems and the two Independents vote in favor of two thousand dollar stimulus checks, seven other Republican votes would have to come in favor of it in addition to the five that have already indicated or at least hinted that they will vote in favor of it.
There is another Republican senator, Deb Fischer, of Nebraska who told reporters this morning that she is open to the idea of two thousand dollar stimulus checks. And of course Mitch McConnell is also under pressure from Bernie Sanders to put the bill on the House floor.
We know McConnell wants to hold a vote this week to override Trump’s veto of the Defense Authorization Act. And last night Bernie Sanders essentially threatened to filibuster that veto override if McConnell doesn’t put two thousand dollar stimulus checks on the Senate floor.
Well, Chuck Schumer attempted to get unanimous consent on the House bill today, and obviously it failed, it was blocked by McConnell. Then Bernie Sanders tried to get action on it, McConnell blocked that as well, so Sanders blocked a quick passage of the override of Trump’s veto of the Defense Authorization Act.
Now, this doesn’t mean two thousand dollar stimulus checks are dead, it’s just when you try to get unanimous consent, it means just that, no one can object, Schumer knew he wouldn’t get unanimous consent on this just like Pelosi knew she wouldn’t get unanimous consent last week in the House, but Dems put it up for a full recorded vote yesterday, and it passed.
Question of course now is will Mitch McConnell put two thousand dollar stimulus checks on the Senate floor?
Well, here’s what Mitch said on the Senate Floor this morning about stimulus, first he talks about the stimulus bill that Trump signed on Sunday, he basically praises it, praises the President, and then he talks about Trump’s three issues, the three issues Trump brought up in his statement, namely, two thousand dollar stimulus checks, Section 230, and voter fraud.
So first McConnell talked about the bill that is now law, and then he said during this process the president highlighted three additional issues he would like to see Congress tackle together, first, further financial support for American households, a growing willingness on both sides of the aisle to at least re-examine the special legal protections afforded to technology companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, including the ways it benefits some of the most powerful big tech firms, and the third subject is exploring further ways to protect the sanctity of America’s ballots.
He said that the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus. So this is what Trump had in mind here in his statement when he said, “The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.”
What does McConnell mean by this? He left it quite vague. What Democrats are afraid of us is that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans will attempt to combine two thousand dollar stimulus checks with legislation pertaining to the two other issues that Trump brought up, Section 230 and voter fraud, and these could very well be “poison pills” to Democrats.
So you could have this situation where the week before the Georgia runoffs, Republicans could say, “Those Democrats blocked two thousand dollar stimulus checks,” but in reality, they didn’t block the legislation because of two thousand dollar stimulus checks, they blocked it because it also contained “poison pills” regarding Section 230 and voter fraud.
So that’s the situation where in, asking ourselves, as we have asked ourselves for the better part of the past week, what will Mitch do with respect to two thousand dollar stimulus checks with the Georgia runoff next week, that is the question, and it is a question that over one-third of you believe will be answered favorably, thirty-seven percent of y’all voted in my poll yesterday and said you do believe that two thousand dollar stimulus checks will pass the senate while sixty-three percent of you said you don’t think it will happen.
We will see who’s right in the days ahead, assuming two thousand dollar stimulus check legislation does make its way to the Senate floor.