Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who recently blocked a move by Democrats to deliver $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, has introduced his own bill but included two poison pills that the Democrats will dispute.
The Kentucky Republican’s legislation calls for the repeal of Section 230, offers legal protections to social media platforms, allowing them to escape liability for the content that is uploaded or published on their websites.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer deemed McConnell’s proposal a “cynical gambit.” The Senate is expected to take up the bill on Wednesday.
Early Monday the House passed a bill to provide $2,000 in stimulus checks to Americans, voting 275-134. Of the 36 tally, 44 Republicans voted in favour alongside their Democrat counterparts. The House voted to increase the total sum provided to American citizens to $2,000 from the original $600 as part of its coronavirus relief package, which was approved by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Sunday.
McConnell refused to put forward the bill for a Senate vote and indicated that he intended to package the $2,000 checks with a repeal on the Section 230 tech liability shield and open an investigation into election fraud.
“The president highlighted three additional issues of national significance he would like to see Congress tackle together,” McConnell stated. “Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus,” he added.
At least four Republican senators have expressed support in favour of the House bill.
Sen. Marco Rubio was among those who stated that he supports the $2,000 stimulus checks. “I agree with the President that millions of working-class families are in dire need of additional relief, which is why I support $2,000 in direct payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic,” Rubio said in a statement.
“For months, Republicans tried to pass additional relief for workers, families, and small businesses — only to be rejected by Democrats at every turn,” Rubio noted. “Remember, months ago Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Democrats rejected the administration’s previous offer of $1,200 per adult and $1,000 per child. Thankfully, she’s finally stopped holding working families hostage.”
“I share many of my colleagues’ concerns about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working-class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief. Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000,” Rubio said.
Two other Senate Republicans in Georgia, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — both locked in tight reelection campaigns that will be decided on Jan. 5 — expressed support for the $2,000 checks.
Georgia Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler also expressed support for the relief bill, “President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people,” Perdue wrote on Twitter.
Senator Lindsey Graham also expressed support over the weekend, “Congress will vote on additional stimulus checks,” he tweeted. “Well done Mr. President!”
Trump blasted McConnell on Tuesday for blocking the House bill with the $2,000 checks. “Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!” the president warned on Twitter. “Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough!”
Trump also tweeted on Wednesday, “$2,000 ASAP!”