Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey blocked a standalone bill Wednesday afternoon to increase the coronavirus relief payments in the latest COVID-19 aid package from $600 to $2,000.
McConnell and Toomey blocked an attempt by Democrats to either pass or vote on the bill by unanimous consent, which McConnell later spoke about on the Senate floor, criticizing Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for trying to bring the increase to the stimulus checks.
“Now our colleague from Vermont is again putting political stunts before the needs of our men and women in uniform. Our colleague says he will slow down this vital bill unless he gets to muscle through another standalone proposal from Speaker Pelosi that would add roughly half a trillion dollars to the national debt,” McConnell said in his floor speech.
“Which does not align with what President Trump has suggested. And which has no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate. Well, as I’ve said, the Senate will not let our national security be shoved off course. Certainly not by senators who have spent years trying to gut America’s capabilities while our adversaries continue ramping up,” he continued.
“The Senate will stay on this important bill until we complete it, one way or another,” McConnell added. (RELATED: ‘Death Wish’ — Trump Goes After Senate GOP For Blocking COVID-19 Relief Vote)
Toomey also declared that we would not allow a vote, saying, “We know for a fact that a large majority of those checks are going to go to people who had no lost income. How does that make any sense at all?”
According to Senate rules, any single senator can call for a vote, but similarly any single senator can block the call for a vote, The Hill reported.
The House passed a bill Monday night to increase the coronavirus relief payments. In a 275-134 vote, the House passed the bill, which the Senate will need to approve. The House needed a two-thirds majority for it to pass. (RELATED: These Are The House Republicans Who Voted With Trump On Both The NDAA Veto And $2,000 Stimulus Checks)
McConnell introduced the legislation authorizing direct cash payments of $2,000 Tuesday but tied it to a repeal of Section 230 and an investigation into Trump’s allegations of voter fraud.