- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday linking $US2,000 stimulus checks to a repeal of Section 230 and the creation of a new commission to study election fraud, a move likely to doom the increased direct payments.
- McConnell’s proposal came just hours after he blocked a House-passed bill that would have also boosted the direct payments but without tackling the other two items, both of which are top priorities of President Donald Trump.
- Trump and some other Republicans have repeatedly railed against Section 230 – which shields internet companies from being sued over user-posted content – and made baseless accusations about election fraud, while Democrats have opposed them on both issues.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday introduced a bill tying $US2,000 stimulus checks to unrelated items on President Donald Trump’s agenda: a full repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the creation of a new congressional committee to further investigate the integrity of the 2020 US elections.
By linking the increased payments to measures that Democrats oppose, so-called poison pills, the top Senate Republican’s bill will most likely sink efforts to get Americans additional COVID-19 relief.
McConnell’s move came just hours after he blocked a separate attempt by Democrats to hold a vote on $US2,000 checks that didn’t include language on the other two issues.
“Senator McConnell knows how to make $US2,000 survival checks reality and he knows how to kill them,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a press release.
“If Sen. McConnell tries loading up the bipartisan House-passed CASH Act with unrelated, partisan provisions that will do absolutely nothing to help struggling families across the country, it will not pass the House and cannot become law â€” any move like this by Sen. McConnell would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a $US2,000 survival check,” Schumer added.
Earlier Tuesday, Schumer had called for an immediate vote in the upper chamber on the legislation known as the CASH Act, which the House passed on Monday night with the support of 44 Republicans and all but two Democrats.
McConnell has repeatedly opposed additional direct COVID-19 relief payments to Americans, previously calling them “crazy policy.” But he has also faced pressure recently from Democrats, Trump, and even some Republicans â€” ahead of pivotal runoff elections in Georgia for control of the Senate â€” to raise the amount to $US2,000 from the $US600 that Congress and Trump signed off on earlier this week.
Trump had threatened to veto the stimulus bill because the checks were not for $US2,000, but he eventually signed the $US900 billion relief package.
On Tuesday, following McConnell’s decision to block the House proposal that would have done exactly that, Trump lashed out again, while also pushing Republicans to link the increased payments to his crusades against the tech industry and his election defeat.
“Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $US2000 payments ASAP. $US600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough!” Trump tweeted.
By linking the $US2,000 checks to Trump’s other demands â€” both of which Democrats have opposed â€” McConnell’s bill will most likely pressure Democrats into voting down the measure, which in turn could give Republicans political cover to say they weren’t responsible for tanking the increased payments to Americans.
Trump has repeatedly railed against Section 230, a legal provision that shields internet companies from lawsuits over content posted on their sites by users and gives them the ability to regulate that content. Trump and some Republicans have mistakenly interpreted the law as requiring social-media companies to be politically neutral and have long complained â€” despite evidence to the contrary â€” that social media is biased against conservative viewpoints.
Trump has also repeatedly advanced baseless claims alleging widespread voter fraud in the 2020 US elections â€” and his lawyers have won zero out of least 40 lawsuits making such claims. (President-elect Joe Biden won with 306 electoral votes, as confirmed this month by the Electoral College, and also held an edge in the popular vote of more than 7 million).
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