Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday shot down a Democratic bid to answer President Donald Trump's call for increased direct coronavirus payments to Americans, but the measure's ultimate fate in the GOP-controlled chamber is unclear.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., moved to pass the bill by unanimous consent, which meant it would advance if no other senator objected. But McConnell quickly objected to the measure, which would have increased the size of the checks to $2,000 from $600.
Democrats pushed for McConnell to hold a full vote on the measure as soon as possible, but McConnell was vague about his plans in remarks on the Senate floor. He noted that Trump, who had voiced his displeasure with the size of the direct checks in the Covid-19 relief bill passed last week, has called for more scrutiny of the 2020 election and stripping liability protections from major tech companies in addition to the increased payments for struggling Americans.
McConnell said all three are "important subjects," and "we will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus," but provided no further details. While the form that could take is unclear, any effort to link those priorities in a combined legislative package would make passage of the increased direct payments much more difficult.