THE Senate convened today for a rare New Year’s Day session after a plan to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 was blocked – again.
Meanwhile, Americans celebrated the latest round of much-needed $600 stimulus checks as they hit US bank accounts this week and early this morning.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said a stimulus check increase would put cash in the pockets of Americans who did not need it
The boost is backed by President Donald Trump himselfCredit: Getty Images – Getty
He also described the money as a “universal cash giveaway,” adding: “Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it.”
With the current session of Congress coming to an end Sunday, Democrats – and the handful of Republicans in favor of the change – are running out of time to push it through the Senate.
The latest round of checks hit in recent daysCredit: AP:Associated Press
The boost has already been passed by the House, but if it has not been agreed by Sunday, this becomes nullified and would have to be pushed through again.
The latest round hit bank accounts this morning, with Americans taking to social media to share their joy at the economic boost.
One person wrote: “Woke up to my Donnie Dollars deposit. 2021 rocks.”
Another added: “When your paycheck hits with a holiday & OT shift on it the same day as your stimulus check. What a day to celebrate.”
One user dubbed them ‘Donnie Dollars’
Americans celebrated the arrival of the checks in their bank accounts
Back in the Senate, Bernie Sanders was quick to quip back at McConnell’s comments – sniping yesterday: “The majority leader helped lead this body to pass Trump’s tax bill. You want to talk about socialism for the rich Mr Majority Leader?!”
And today he upped the ante, hauling two huge checks to the Senate floor showing the millions in tax rebates companies like Amazon and Delta Airlines received.
Senator Bernie Sanders blasted McConnell for calling an increase in stimulus checks ‘socialism for the rich’
He blasted: “Socialism for the rich is not – in the midst of this terrible pandemic – putting a $2,000 check into the hands of working families.
“I see, if I may say so, a bit of hypocrisy here.”
Sanders today joined Republican Senator Josh Hawley in an attempt to bring a vote on $2,000 checks legislation, as well as a vote on a McConnell-backed plan pairing the stimulus checks with measures on election security and big tech.
Both of these measures are also backed by Trump.
The latest round of the payouts hit this morning
But Republican John Cornyn quashed all hopes of the increase, while Senator John Thune similarly said it was a “shotgun approach where a rifle makes a lot more sense.”
“It is not targeted to help those who are most in need,” he added.
Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted how despite the idea being backed mostly by the Dems, some Republicans and even Trump himself were in favor.
He told the Senate: “If the Senate does not take action today, $2,000 checks will not become law before the end of Congress and they will know that Leader McConnell and the Republican majority have prevented them from getting the checks – plain and simple.
“This is the last chance.”
He added: “For once, we have progressive Democrats, conservative Republicans, the president himself, and not to mention of course the majority – the vast majority of the American people singing from the same songbook in support of these checks.”
The new stimulus package has an IRS deadline for January 15 – meaning payments must be decided and mailed by that date.
However, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said some people could see the $600 in their bank accounts by Wednesday.
Trump, who not only called the nominal $600 a disgrace but also threatened to veto the bill, has called on Republicans to pass the $2,000 checks “ASAP.”
Time is running out to push the bill through the SenateCredit: Twitter