Sanders: I'll Filibuster Over $2K Relief Checks

He wants vote on increasing the amount from $600, could keep senators from going home
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2020 6:06 AM CST
Bernie Sanders Threatens Filibuster Over $2K Checks
In this photo from March, Sen. Bernie Sanders, accompanied by his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, arrives to speak during a primary night election rally in Essex Junction, Vt.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Whether Americans will get checks for $600 or $2,000 is now up to the Senate, and it looks like the next few days are going to be interesting ones in the chamber. Bernie Sanders on Monday threatened to filibuster unless the Senate votes quickly on the measure, reports the Boston Globe. And as the Washington Post notes, he's got some powerful leverage: A filibuster would prevent the senators from leaving DC for a holiday break. “Let me be clear: If Sen. 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,” Sanders promised in a statement. Politico points out that the move could foul up the campaign schedules of Georgia's two GOP senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who face crucial runoffs next week.

And in a sign of the weird political universe in which this is taking place, President Trump showed support for Sanders' move by tweeting a story about it and adding, "Give the people $2000, not $600. They have suffered enough!" The House agreed to the larger amount Monday, with 44 Republicans joining Democrats. (Whether enough Senate Republicans support the larger checks remains unclear.) Sanders' threat to filibuster is linked to another measure: The House voted to override Trump's veto of a defense bill, and the Senate plans to follow suit. However, Sanders says he will not allow that vote to happen until Mitch McConnell agrees to hold a vote on the stimulus boost. McConnell has not said how he will handle things. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, says he will try to force a vote on the stimulus checks Tuesday, though a single senator could block him. (More Bernie Sanders stories.)

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