The last act of the 116th Congress will not be increasing the relief payments to Americans to 2,000 dollars as many had hoped. Mitch McConnell refused at any point to bring a vote to the floor on the matter on Friday. McConnell even introduced revisions to the bill involving other things President Trump asked for but never actually offered his version for a vote either.
McConnell dismissed the need for more relief for the bottom wage earners in America by calling it “socialism for the rich”. A claim with little basis in reality as the package specifically targets lower income segments of the public.
Several prominent Republican senators and close allies of President Trump called for the vote. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC had this to say on the matter. “With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, a $2k direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism.
In my view it is necessary in the times in which we live.”
Another close ally of President Trump, R-Josh Hawley of Missouri said “I can’t for the life of me understand why we cannot get a vote. We can’t even seem to have a debate on it. With all due respect, this doesn’t seem to be a Republicans versus Democrats issue. This seems to be a Senate versus the United States of America.”
The 116th Congress came to a close on Friday with one last block by Republicans after Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a vote.
The 117th Congress will be seated Sunday, January 3rd and it will be finalized after the Georgia run-off elections on January 5th.
On Fox and Friends Graham called for the newly seated Congress to attempt to vote for the increased relief amount. “I’d like a standalone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check. We have seven Republicans who have already said they’d vote for it. We need five more. I think if we had the vote, we would get there.”
Whether Mitch McConnell retains leadership won’t be known until after January 5th, if he does, those who support the increased payment will continue to face long odds in getting a vote.