(LEX 18) — President Donald Trump's push for bigger $2,000 stimulus checks is all but dead in the Senate. After blocking a vote on the CASH Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to take the issue up differently.
McConnell proposed a bill that bundles the issue of bigger stimulus checks with two other things the president asked for - the formation of a commission to investigate the 2020 election and a complicated repeal of big tech liability protections.
"Three of the president's priorities in one Senate process," explained McConnell on the Senate floor Wednesday. "That was the commitment, and that's what happened yesterday when I introduced text reflecting just what the President had requested."
Currently, that bill does not have enough widespread support to pass.
McConnell stood firm on his plan, however.
"The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them. The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of the Democrats' rich friends who don't need the help," said McConnell. "We just approved almost a trillion dollars in aid a few days ago. It struck a balance between broad support for all kinds of households and a lot more targeted relief for those who need help most. We are going to stay smart, we're going to stay focused, and we're going to continue delivering on the needs of our nation."
McConnell said the standalone stimulus bill for $2,000 checks to Americans making less than $75,000 a year "does not align with what President Trump has suggested and which has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate."
However, supporters of the bigger stimulus checks fired back at McConnell's claims about money being given to people who don't need it.
"Let me just make it clear for the majority leader that 10 out of the 25 poorest counties in the United States of America are located in Kentucky," said Senator Bernie Sanders. "So maybe, my colleague, the majority leader, might want to get on the phone and start talking to working families in Kentucky and find out how they feel about the need for immediate help in terms of a $2,000 check per adult."
Gov. Andy Beshear also stands behind the concept of bigger stimulus checks. He said the $600 checks would bring in more than $2.2 billion into Kentucky's economy. But $2,000 would bring in $5 billion more.
"$2,000 checks to help the American people have nothing to do with liability for tech companies or the last election. Nothing. So, to tie them together, at best, is some strategic political move," said Beshear during his coronavirus briefing on Tuesday. "The difference between Leader McConnell bringing this to a vote and passing it or him blocking it is our Kentucky families receiving an extra $5 billion."