President Trump on Tuesday ripped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for blocking a bipartisan House-approved bill that would have provided millions of Americans with a $2,000 relief check.
"Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. $600 IS NOT ENOUGH!" the president warned on Twitter.
In the House legislation, passed Monday in a 275-134 vote with 44 Republicans voting in favor, Americans making up to $75,000 would receive direct payments of $2,000 — an increase from the $600 checks in the coronavirus relief package approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the president Sunday night.
At least four Republican senators have expressed support for the House bill.
McConnell blocked the bill on Tuesday without explanation. But earlier on Tuesday, the Senate leader signaled separately he might package the $2,000 checks with a repeal of a tech liability shield and an election-related investigation. Trump said over the weekend that the Senate would "start the process for a vote" that tackles the three issues.
"The president highlighted three additional issues of national significance he would like to see Congress tackle together," McConnell said. "Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus," he added.
On Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he supports the $2,000 stimulus checks.
"I agree with the President that millions of working-class families are in dire need of additional relief, which is why I support $2,000 in direct payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic," Rubio said in a Monday statement.
"For months, Republicans tried to pass additional relief for workers, families, and small businesses — only to be rejected by Democrats at every turn," Rubio recounted. "Remember, months ago Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Democrats rejected the administration's previous offer of $1,200 per adult and $1,000 per child. Thankfully, she's finally stopped holding working families hostage."
"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," added Rubio, whose messaging has taken a populist turn of late. "Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000."
Two other Senate Republicans in Georgia, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — both locked in tight reelection campaigns that will be decided Jan. 5 — expressed support for the $2,000 checks.
"President @realdonaldtrump is right — I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people," Perdue wrote on Twitter.
And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) over the weekend also expressed support. "Congress will vote on additional stimulus checks," he tweeted. "Well done Mr. President!"