WASHINGTON (LEX 18) — As stimulus checks are slowly hitting the bank accounts of many people in Kentucky, the question is: will this $600 be all of it?
The answer is probably.
Even though the House quickly passed the CASH Act on Monday, the bill ran into trouble in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not give the bill a vote.
The bill would boost $600 stimulus payments to $2,000 for Americans who make less than $75,000 per year. However, on Thursday - for the third day in a row - McConnell said no to a vote.
Instead, he blasted the bill, calling it "socialism for rich people."
"Socialism for rich people is a terrible way to help the American families that are actually struggling," said McConnell. "Let me say that again. Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it."
McConnell's concern is that some of the $2,000 checks would go to people who haven't been hit financially during the pandemic.
"Imagine a family of five where the parents earn $250,000 per year and have not seen any income loss this past year. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders want to send them $5,000 from Uncle Sam," said McConnell. "They make a quarter of a million dollars; nobody’s out of work; but our so-called progressive friends say that household needs, quote, ‘survival checks.’"
Supporters of the checks fired back, saying that less than 1% of the stimulus payments would go to the top 5% of Americans. They say the majority goes to poor and working-class families, like those in Kentucky.
"Virtually nothing goes to the very, very rich. [The] overwhelming majority of those funds go to the middle class, the working class, low-income people, who in the midst of this pandemic are in desperate economic condition," said Senator Bernie Sanders.
"Kentucky is the state where ten out of the 25 poorest counties in America exist," said Sanders. "I'm sure that Senator McConnell is aware that throughout his state, you've got thousands and tens of thousands of people living in economic desperation."
But McConnell didn't budge. He said he prefers targeted action to help those who need it.
Instead of voting only on the stimulus checks, McConnell is moving forward with his plan to bundle the checks with two of the president's other priorities: looking into the 2020 election and stripping liability protections for big tech companies.
The problem is that bill doesn't have enough support to pass. So, democrats asked McConnell to take the issues up separately.
"If Leader McConnell wants a vote on these issues, we're here for it," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "Just give us a vote on the House-passed bill, and we can vote on whatever right-wing conspiracy theory you'd like."
McConnell didn't go for the plan, though.
"I object," he said.