Stimulus checks are set to be distributed in the coming days, but that may be called into question as Congress, and specifically the Senate, are struggling over the bill. The President signed the original bipartisan bill, passed by Congress on Sunday, however he also called for an increase to the individual checks being sent out to the American public.
In a surprising twist, the presidents call was answered by the Democrats of the House, with a 2 to 1 majority passing the bill to increase the stimulus checks (joined by several of their Republican members). The Senate, however, was set to approach the bill today and have declined to touch it.
In fact, Mitch McConnell has objected to even bring the request to the floor to be voted on (objecting to two separate motions). And has refused to bring it on his own merit. Instead, he has implied that he will link the increase of stimulus funding with the other comments that the president made, adjusting some of the matters in the regular budget.
It’s unlikely that joining these amendments together will result in a passage through Congress, with neither party having enough of a majority to force their views through. However, Senator Sanders has threatened to filibuster the defense bill if the stimulus bill does not get a vote. And it seems that many of the Republicans in the Senate are even calling for McConnell to put the matter to a vote.
There are a couple of key senate races happening in Georgia, however, that could also be affected by the matter. If Senate Republicans refuse to vote on the increase it could reflect badly on the Republicans currently engaged in a runoff election there. Republicans need those seats in the Senate to maintain their comfortable lead, and while the two candidates are both vocal supporters of increasing the checks, the actions of their fellows already in the Senate could reflect on them.
It looks as though we will see more of what’s going to happen tomorrow, as McConnell has scheduled a vote to determine whether they will debate an override on the presidential veto of the defense bill. If the vote is held, it’s possible that Sanders could make good on his promise to filibuster, leading to even more potential problems as we come close to the end of the year and the session of Congress.