‘A disgrace’: Trump calls on Congress to amend coronavirus relief package
Senators will be back at it Wednesday as McConnell is devising a way out of the political bind, but the outcome is highly uncertain.“There’s one question left today: Do Senate Republicans join with the rest of America in supporting $2,000 checks?” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said as he made a motion to vote.Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said some of the $600 payments might be sent by direct deposit to Americans’ bank accounts as early as Tuesday night. Mnuchin tweeted that paper checks will begin to go out Wednesday.
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“The working class of this country today faces more economic desperation than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s,” Sanders said as he also tried to force a vote on the relief checks. “Working families need help now.” But McConnell objected a second time.The GOP blockade is causing turmoil for some as the virus crisis worsens nationwide and Trump amplifies his unexpected demands.The two GOP senators from Georgia, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, announced Tuesday they support Trump’s plan for bigger checks as they face Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate.“I’m delighted to support the president,” said Perdue on Fox News. Loeffler said in an interview on Fox that she, too, backs the boosted relief checks.Trump repeated his demand in a tweet ahead of Tuesday’s Senate session: ”$2000 for our great people, not $600!”
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That’s a process that almost ensures neither bill will pass.Trump’s push could fizzle out in the Senate but the debate over the size and scope of the package — $900 billion in COVID-19 aid and $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies — is potentially one last confrontation before the new Congress is sworn in Sunday.For now, the $600 checks are set to be delivered, along with other aid, among the largest rescue packages of its kind.The COVID-19 portion of the bill revives a weekly pandemic jobless benefit boost — this time $300, through March 14 — as well as the popular Paycheck Protection Program of grants to businesses to keep workers on payrolls. It extends eviction protections, adding a new rental assistance fund.Americans earning up to $75,000 will qualify for the direct $600 payments, which are phased out at higher income levels, and there’s an additional $600 payment per dependent child.Biden supports the $2,000 checks and said Tuesday the aid package is merely a “down payment” on what he plans to deliver once in office.
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