Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected on Tuesday to a proposal by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to vote on a House bill increasing COVID-19 relief payments to $2,000. McConnell added that the Senate will “begin the process” of addressing President Trump’s request that Congress increase relief payments to $2,000. The House voted 275-134 on Monday to increase the stimulus payments set to go out to American households in the coming weeks.
McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday evening which would offer an increased direct paid benefit of $2,000 to individuals, the amount sought by both democrats and republicans, including President Trump.
But this relief bill, S.5085 would tack on a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 and funding for a commission to investigate voter fraud. Both of these additions to McConnell’s surprise bill are demands which have been made for months by the President. The Section 230 repeal would pull back protections for internet companies and allow such media companies like Twitter and Facebook to be sued if users feel wronged by messages on their platforms.
McConnell has said for months that he was opposed to weekly unemployment benefits and only last week agreed with democrats to add the $600 direct deposit for Americans struggling amid the pandemic.
President Trump appeared to have predicted what McConnell’s move would be this week after the White House came out, in support, alongside democrats, of the $2,000 stimulus checks to individual Americans.
“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,” the president wrote in a Sunday statement, just one day before McConnell introduced almost identical legislation Tuesday evening.
Trump stated on Sunday, “Big Tech must not get protection provided by Section 230!” “Trump added, “Voter fraud must be fixed! Much more money is coming, I will never give up my fight for the American people!” McConnell appears to have granted the president his request by tacking the freedom of speech issue onto the $2,000 check stipulation.
Dem. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer responded to McConnell’s introduction to the bill as a “cynical gambit.” Unclear in what exactly McConnell’s legislative motives are, Schumer said the GOP senate leader is attempting to undermine the $2,000 by adding Trump’s demands of fraud and Section 230 repeal demands.
This is a developing story and will be updated as warranted.