WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked Democrats’ push to immediately bring President Donald Trump’s demand for bigger $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks up for a vote, saying the chamber would “begin a process” to address the issue.
Pressure is mounting on the Republican-led Senate to follow the House, which voted overwhelmingly on Monday to meet the president’s demand to increase the checks from $600 as the virus crisis worsens. A growing number of Republicans, including two senators in runoff elections on Jan. 5 in Georgia, have said they will support the larger amount. But most GOP senators oppose more spending, even if they are also wary of bucking Trump.
The outcome is highly uncertain heading into the rare holiday-week session.
“We should not adjourn until the Senate holds a vote,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said as he made a motion to push it toward a vote.
McConnell, who has said little publicly on Trump’s request, objected but gave almost no indication of his plans ahead.
“The Senate will begin a process,” the GOP leader said. He said he plans to bring the president’s demand for the $2,000 checks and other remaining issues “into focus.”