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Sen. Bernie Sanders to filibuster defense bill to demand vote on $2,000 stimulus checks

Bernie Sanders
Posted at 8:36 PM, Dec 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 22:36:29-05

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on Monday that he will filibuster a vote on Tuesday to override a presidential veto on the National Defense Authorization Act in hopes of calling a vote for larger stimulus checks.

As of late Monday, it is unknown if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow the vote on the enhanced stimulus checks to move forward. On Monday, the bill to provide $2,000 stimulus checks to most American adults pass the US House of Representatives by a two-thirds margin.

The proposal for $2,000 stimulus checks, which was first pitched in the spring by Sanders and a group of other progress senators, has garnered the support of President Donald Trump. Originally, said he was going to withhold support of a broad stimulus package, but relented on Sunday. The stimulus bill he signed on Sunday will provide most Americans making less than $75,000 a year a $600 check.

The filibuster has been a tactic used by senators in the past to delay votes. The filibuster is largely symbolic, but given the attention on both the stimulus checks as well as the defense spending bill, this filibuster could be given extra attention.

The National Defense Authorization Act provides the Pentagon with $740 billion in funds, and authorized pay raises for members of the armed forces. If two thirds of senators vote to override the veto, it will be the first time in Trump’s presidency that Congress has overridden a veto.

“The House passed a $2,000 direct payment for working people. Now it's the Senate's turn. If 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,” Sanders said in a statement.

While McConnell has remained mum, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he too will call for a vote on larger stimulus checks on Tuesday.

“Following the strong bipartisan vote in the House, tomorrow I will move to pass the legislation in the Senate to quickly deliver Americans with $2,000 emergency checks,” Schumer said. “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.”

While Trump and Democrats have spearheaded the efforts to bolster stimulus checks, the bill does not have wide Republican support. The vote won the Democratic caucus in the House by a 231-2 margin, Republicans voted 44-130 and independents voted 0-2.

Some Republicans in the Senate appear ready to back the proposal.

“I share many of my colleagues’ concern about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said. “Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.”