Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would filibuster the Senate vote to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a defense spending bill in a bid to force a vote on $2,000 stimulus checks.
The House voted 275-134 on Monday in favor of increasing the $600 payments included in the latest round of coronavirus relief to $2,000 after President Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill unless the payments were increased. Most Republicans voted against the bill but 44 joined the vast majority of Democrats to approve the measure.
The House also overwhelmingly voted to override Trump’s veto of the annual defense funding bill.
The Senate is expected to vote to override Trump’s veto as well but Sanders vowed to block the measure as long as he could unless McConnell agrees to allow a vote on the $2,000 checks.
Most Republicans have long opposed larger checks and McConnell has not said whether he would allow a vote.
Sanders could delay through New Year:
Sanders’ bid could force the Senate to stay in DC until January 1, potentially impacting the campaigning for the January 5 Georgia runoffs.
"McConnell wants to vote to override Trump's veto of the $740 billion defense funding bill and then head home for the New Year. I'm going to object until we get a vote on legislation to provide a $2,000 direct payment to the working class," Sanders said in a statement. "Let me be clear: If Senator McConnell doesn't agree to an up or down vote to provide the working people of our country a $2,000 direct payment, Congress will not be going home for New Year's Eve. Let's do our job."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said every Senate Democrat is on board with the increase.
"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," he said in a statement. "Leader McConnell ought to make sure Senate Republicans do not stand in the way of helping to meet the needs of American workers and families who are crying out for help."
Will GOP support?
Trump reiterated his demand to increase the checks to $2,000 on Tuesday but it’s unclear whether the measure would garner enough GOP support to pass.
Sen. Marco Rubio said he would support the increased payments and Sen. Josh Hawley, who joined Sanders to push for $1,200 payments, is likely to support the measure as well.
Georgia Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue both endorsed the increased payments on Tuesday.
"I've stood by the president 100% of the time. I'm proud to do that and I've said, absolutely, we need to get relief to Americans now and I will support that,” Loeffler told Fox News.
"President @realDonaldTrump is right,” Perdue tweeted. “I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people."