Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called out Sen. Mitch McConnell and Pat Toomey for supporting tax cuts for corporations while blocking $2,000 stimulus checks.
Leader Schumer said:
The Senate today meets for a rare New Year’s Eve session for one reason and one reason only: the Republican Leader has refused to allow us to vote on legislation to provide the American people $2,000 checks.
He has twice objected to my requests to set a time for a vote on the measure, claiming yesterday that direct stimulus checks were “poorly targeted,” bemoaning the idea that some of the checks might go into “the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help.” Sen. Toomey said much the same thing.
Well funny, I don’t remember the Republican Leader and Senator Toomey complaining about how a $2 trillion, across-the-board corporate tax cut was “poorly targeted” because some large companies didn’t need the help.
No—when corporations get a blanket tax break, that’s fine by the Republican majority. When average Americans get a little help from their government, it’s “poorly targeted.”
I hope that every American heard the objections by these Republican Senators. I hope every American who has their water or heat or electricity shut off; or had eviction notices stapled on top of one another to their door; or had to choose which meal to skip on a given day—I hope they all heard that the reason they will not receive $2,000 checks is because Leader McConnell thinks it could wind up in the hands of “Democrats’ rich friends.”
Now, let’s be very clear. There is one way, and one way only, to pass $2,000 checks before the end of the year. And that’s to pass the House bill. It is the only way to get the American people the $2,000 checks they need and deserve. The House is gone for the session. Any modification or addition to the House bill can’t become law. Either the Senate takes up and passes the House bill, or struggling Americans will not get $2,000 checks during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
And Leader McConnell knows this. So he has said that the Senate can only vote on a bill that combines the checks with other unrelated, partisan policies: repeal Section 230, and an investigation into the President’s dishonest and bogus claims of election fraud. The Republican Leader claims that President Trump insists that all three issues must be addressed in one bill. But, of course, the President made no such demand. President Trump couldn’t care less about how the bills are packaged in Congress.
So, the Republican Leader has invented an excuse to prevent a clean, up-or-down, yes-or-no, vote on $2,000 checks coming to the floor. This maneuver to combine all three issues is intended to kill the possibility of $2,000 checks ever becoming law.
Just to prove it, let me make this offer to the Republican majority.
We’re willing to vote on the other issues that President Trump mentioned—all the issues the Republican Leader says must be addressed—so long as we vote on them separately. That way, $2,000 checks could become law and we could debate all the president’s supposed concerns.
We can vote on setting up a commission to look at the President’s roundly rejected claims of voter fraud. We would also have the commission look at voter suppression and gerrymandering. That’s completely unrelated to helping Americans pay their bills, but we’re willing to take a look at the whole picture. Just give us a vote on the House-passed bill so we get help now to people who desperately need it.
Heck, we can also have a vote on repealing Section 230. We can do it today. We’ll use Leader McConnell’s exact language. But he won’t agree to that because he knows that his caucus wouldn’t actually support such an act. Unlike the President, some members of this body understand what 230 means. They understand that Section 230, which certainly needs change, actually enables the President to spew his lies.
We all know the 117th Congress will have to take a close look at the relationship between liability and reckless speech on the internet. But if Leader McConnell wants a vote on these issues, we’re here for it. Just give us a vote on the House-passed bill and we can vote on whatever right-wing conspiracy theory you’d like.
We can even vote to set up a special, blue-ribbon commission to determine whether Georgia’s Secretary of State has a brother named Ron if that would make our Republican friends happy.
Just don’t let these conspiracy theories and Presidential fantasies get in the way of helping actual people. People whose livelihoods have been torn apart by this pandemic. People whose lives have been torn apart by the Administration’s mismanagement of this pandemic. People who need just a little direct assistance.
Schumer called out all of McConnell’s made up excuses. There is no good reason for Senate Republicans to deny Americans who are in dire need $2,000 stimulus checks. McConnell won’t allow a vote because he is afraid that the bill will pass.
Leader Schumer is hanging this betrayal of the American people around the necks of McConnell and Senate Republicans while voters in Georgia are deciding control of the Senate in two critical runoff elections.
It doesn’t matter what Democrats offer. Mitch McConnell will not allow a vote on $2,000 stimulus checks, and Republicans are going to wear that obstruction for years to come.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association