Schumer Floor Remarks Calling For Immediate Passage Of $2,000 Emergency Survival Checks – Majority Leader McConnell Blocked The House-Passed Bill From Going To President Trump’s Desk

December 29, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding increasing direct payments to Americans from $600 to $2000. Following his remarks, Senator Schumer asked unanimous consent that the Senate pass the House-passed CASH Act, which would provide $2,000 checks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to the request, blocking the bill. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now, the Senate is here this week for a rare holiday session to address two major issues: the President’s veto of the annual defense bill and the effort to send $2,000 survival checks to millions and millions of American families—something Senate Democrats strongly support.

The Senate should be in session to address both issues. There are only a few days left in this session. We should not adjourn until the Senate holds a vote on both measures: the NDAA veto override and the House bill to provide $2,000 checks for the American people.

As we all know, the Majority Leader controls the schedule on the floor, so Leader McConnell holds the key to unlocking this dilemma. The solution is a simple one: put both bills up for a simple up-or-down vote and then let the chips fall where they may. I believe both measures will pass—as they should. But Leader McConnell must allow the Senate to vote on both pieces of legislation, the defense bill and $2,000 checks, before we go home.

We will start the process on over-riding the President’s veto of the defense bill tomorrow. Today, at the end of my remarks, I will ask the Senate’s consent to take up the House-passed bill to provide the American people immediate, survival checks of $2,000 a person.

Throughout this pandemic, working Americans have taken it on the chin. Right now, they’re facing their hardest and their darkest days. Tens of millions have lost their jobs. Tens of millions are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. In the wealthiest nation on earth, modern day bread lines stretch for miles down American highways.

The fastest way to get money into Americans’ pockets is to send some of their tax dollars right back from where they came.

$2,000 stimulus checks could mean the difference between American families having groceries for a few extra weeks or going hungry. The difference between paying the rent or being kicked out of your home that you’ve lived in for years. It could buy precious time for tens of millions of people as the vaccine, thankfully, makes its way across the country.

Of course, we could have taken up this issue weeks ago. In the COVID-relief bill Congress just passed, Democrats wanted generous direct payments to the American people. Speaker Pelosi and I repeatedly asked our Republican counterparts how much they could support. Their answer: $600.

It was a compromise many of us were not happy about. I came to the floor myself, with the Senator from Vermont, to ask that we double, at least, the size of those checks. A Republican Senator objected: $600 was the most Republicans would support.

Well, my colleagues and my fellow Americans, $600 is not enough.

Not enough for the mother in Nashville, $4,000 behind on the rent, whose water was shut off earlier this month.

Not for the medical receptionist in Macomb, $2,100 behind on the rent, whole electricity shut off in September, on her son’s third day of virtual kindergarten.

Not for the 12 million Americans who have fallen, on average, nearly $6,000 behind on their rent and their utilities…or the 26 million Americans who have had trouble putting food on the table in the past five weeks.

Six hundred dollars—nope—it’s not enough.

So, in a moment, I will move to have the Senate take up the House bill to increase that number to $2,000, which I might add had broad bipartisan support.

I don’t want to hear that we can’t afford it. I don’t want to hear that it would add too much to the deficit. Senate Republicans added nearly $2 trillion to the deficit to give corporations a massive tax cut. Republicans just fought to include a tax break for three-martini lunches in the COVID-relief bill. So I don’t want to hear it that it costs too much to help working families get a check when they’re struggling to keep their jobs, pay their families, pay their rent, feed their families and live a halfway normal and decent life.

Even in our deeply divided times, this issue has united Americans from coast to coast and bridged the massive political divide here in Washington. A vast majority of the public—Republican and Democrat—strongly support $2,000 checks. An overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House supports $2,000. Senate Democrats strongly support $2,000 checks. Even President Trump supports $2,000 checks.

There’s one question left today: do Senate Republicans join with the rest of America in supporting $2,000 checks?

Now, some of my Republican colleagues have said they support the checks, but there’s a major difference in saying you support $2,000 checks and fighting to put them into law.

The House bill is the only way—the only way—to deliver these stimulus checks before the end of the session. Will Senate Republicans fight for a vote on the House-passed CASH Act? Or will they look some other way?

Will Senate Republicans stand against the House of Representatives, the Democratic minority in the Senate, and the President of their own party to prevent these $2,000 checks from going out the door?

We’re about to get the answers to these questions.