- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that the Senate would pass a House-approved measure to provide millions of Americans with direct $2,000 payments if there was an up-or-down vote on the measure.

“I’m very confident it will pass if it’s put on the floor,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat.

“Put it on the floor, and I believe it will get the 60 votes” to thwart a potential filibuster, Mr. Schumer said.

The Democratic-led House passed a bill on Monday that would boost direct stimulus payments for millions of Americans from $600 to $2,000. The $600 payments were part of a recently passed coronavirus relief package.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans blocked quick action on the legislation to provide bigger checks.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then teed up potential action on legislation that includes the $2,000 checks, repeals certain protections for social media companies, and sets up an election integrity commission — two other priorities of President Trump.

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont says he’s going to hold up a planned vote to override Mr. Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to try to secure a vote on the $2,000 checks.

Senate Democrats said Mr. McConnell’s bill will not pass the chamber and effectively kills any chances for a quick increase to the direct payments since the current Congress ends this weekend.

“Sen. McConnell knows very well how to make a bill a law, and he knows how to kill a bill,” Mr. Schumer said.

Some Republicans, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri, said they support the $2,000 payments.

But many GOP senators are wary of adding additional money to the national debt, and a floor vote could well split Mr. McConnell’s caucus.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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