Frustrations flared in the Senate during a rare New Years Day session as lawmakers battled for the fourth day in a row over a proposal to increase the amount of recently approved coronavirus relief checks.
Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill to increase the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 on Friday, as well as an attempt by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to set up votes on the House bill and a competing proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would link the money to a unrelated tech fight and creating a new elections commission.
The stalemate formally closes the door on the already unlikely chance that Congress could get an agreement to President Trump’s desk before the end of the current Congress. The House has already left town for the remainder of the session, which ends Sunday morning, and the Senate took its last votes on Friday when it handed Trump his first veto override.
“That means today is the last chance to take up and pass the House bill to provide $2,000 checks to the American people. 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,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.