$2,000 Stimulus Checks All but Thwarted, Is Donald Trump Democrats' Last Hope?

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) complicating the push for stimulus checks of $2,000, Democrats' hopes might rest on the strength of President Donald Trump's desire to force the issue.

On Wednesday McConnell said there was "no realistic path" to passing a measure that would increase the amount sent out in direct payments.

While Democrats push for a Senate vote solely on the stimulus check boost proposal, the Kentucky Republican has tied this to other measures less palatable to many on the left. These proposals amount to repealing Section 230 and an investigation into voter fraud, both which have been called for by Trump.

Lawmakers have suggested that a straight vote on the check increase has a possibility of passing, with the other issues to be looked at separately instead of the matters being rolled together in a form where all are unlikely to pass.

Trump has been outspoken in his desire for $2,000 stimulus checks—a rare point of agreement between him and Democratic lawmakers, who have referenced his support as they push McConnell for the straight vote.

Pushing to drop the extra points temporarily, or at least set them aside to allow a vote without what Democrats have described as "poison pills," could offer a route for the $2,000 check measure to get through Congress—which Trump has insisted he wants to see happen.

However, McConnell calling on his fellow Republican senators to support a straight vote on $2,000 checks will depend heavily on how much Trump is willing to capitulate, and how much influence the president can wield over the Senate majority leader.

Trump has not tweeted about stimulus checks since McConnell's comments on the matter being at a dead end. However, he has previously suggested Republicans might regret not backing the matter.

"Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP," he tweeted earlier this week. "$600 IS NOT ENOUGH!"

Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) questioned why Republicans are blocking that demand, writing on Twitter: "After all the insanity that Senate Republicans have tolerated from President Trump, is this where Senate Republicans are going to draw the line? $2,000 checks to Americans in a pandemic? That is a bridge too far?"

Responding to a tweet from Trump which read "$2,000 ASAP," Rep. Pramila Jayapal encouraged the president to push McConnell on the matter.

"What, did Mitch change his phone number on you or something? Give him a call and let's get $2,000 survival checks done like Democrats have been calling for since the spring," Jayapal wrote.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) also referenced Trump when he pushed for the $2,000 check boost on the Senate floor.

Sanders said that while "nobody here has disagreed with Trump more times than I have," he felt the president was correct on the point of boosting payments.

Trump mentioned both the other demands McConnell has since attached to the stimulus boost in a statement after signing the recent relief legislation. In this statement, he also made the promise of "much more money" heading to people amid the COVID-19 crisis.

"The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud," he said.

"Big Tech must not get protections of Section 230! Voter Fraud must be fixed! Much more money is coming. I will never give up my fight for the American people!"

McConnell though has suggested the Democrats want to "pull a fast one on the president and the American people," as he spoke against their demands.

Newsweek has contacted the White House, McConnell and the other lawmakers mentioned for further comment.

trump golfing at trump national golf club
U.S. President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on December 13, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia. He has pushed for stimulus checks to be boosted to $2,000, though has also pushed other demands which supporters of increasing the payments are less open to backing. Al Drago/Getty Images