Trump and Bernie Sanders make odd allies in tactic to force Senate vote on $2K stimulus boost

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The purported Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting times,” and it doesn’t get much more interesting than President Donald Trump aligning with self-avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The House passed a measure Monday to increase stimulus checks in the COVID-19 relief and government funding package from $600 to $2,000 after Trump demanded  Congress do more for the American people during a pandemic they bear no fault for.

 

Appropriately named the CASH Act, the bill required a two-thirds majority after more political gamesmanship from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and forty-four Republicans joined with the Democrats to ensure its passage. The focus now turns to the GOP-led Senate and Sanders let it be known that he’ll gum up the works in a planned move to override Trump’s veto of the defense authorization bill until the measure is brought up for a vote.

“This week on the Senate floor Mitch McConnell wants to vote to override Trump’s veto of the $740 billion defense funding bill and then head home for the New Year,” he tweeted. “I’m going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class.”

“McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,” Sanders said Monday night, according to Politico.

The Senate is scheduled to meet Tuesday and the majority leader hasn’t commented on any plans to vote on the stimulus boost.

As the online political news site noted, Sanders can’t prevent the veto override vote, but he can delay it until New Year’s Day by filibustering the effort.

“The American people are desperate, and the Senate has got to do its job before leaving town,” Sanders said. “It would be unconscionable, especially after the House did the right thing, for the Senate to simply leave Washington without voting on this.”

Determined to help put more money in the pockets of Americans struggling through pandemic restrictions, to include another round of lockdowns in many Democrat-run states, President Trump essentially gave Sanders a thumbs up.

Responding to a tweet on the Vermont senator’s planned tactic, Trump tweeted: “Give the people $2,000, not $600. They have suffered enough!”

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., took a break from bashing Trump online to tweet that he will be joining with Sanders in blocking the veto override.

“That relief passed in the House today with 44 Republicans voting for it,” Markey tweeted. “Senate Republicans must do the same and get the American people the help they need.”

With Democrats trying to take credit for the $2,000 direct payments, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is jockeying before media allies to make it appear that he will be a driving force to pass the legislation in the Senate on Tuesday.

“Tomorrow I will move to pass the legislation in the Senate to quickly deliver Americans with $2,000 emergency checks. Every Senate Democrat is for this much-needed increase in emergency financial relief, which can be approved tomorrow if no Republican blocks it – there is no good reason for Senate Republicans to stand in the way,” Schumer said in a statement.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced late Monday afternoon that he would support the stimulus increase if it’s brought up for a vote.

“I am concerned about the debt, but working families have been hurt badly by the pandemic This is why I supported $600 direct payments to working families & if given the chance will vote to increase the amount,” he tweeted, linking to a larger statement.

Tom Tillison

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