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Schumer Floor Remarks On Republicans Again Blocking $2,000 Survival Checks To Americans Struggling Through The Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor calling for an up-or-down vote on the House-passed bipartisan legislation to deliver $2,000 checks to the American people. Senator McConnell (R-KY) again blocked the legislation. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Today, the Senate will begin the process of over-riding the President’s veto on the annual defense bill.

The House has already over-ridden the veto by a comfortable margin. I expect the Senate to follow suit and enact the NDAA into law over President Trump’s evolving and ridiculous objections.

Congress has passed the annual defense bill for fifty-nine years in a row. It is an important opportunity to ensure our defense and security policies reflect the evolving challenges of our world, and provide our service members and their families—as well as the Defense Department’s civilians—the support, resources, and training they need.

The particular legislation includes a pay raise for troops, provisions that will allow the Executive Branch to be better postured to identify breaches to America’s cybersecurity. And in the wake of the Solarwinds hack—that might be a good policy to enact.

Nonetheless, President Trump vetoed this legislation because it provides for renaming military installations that honor Confederate military leaders. Or maybe, because it doesn’t address an unrelated social media issue.

Think about it for a moment: the President vetoed a pay raise to living American soldiers in order to defend the honor of dead Confederate traitors.

Well, the Senate will soon have the opportunity to override the President’s objection and do right by those brave Americans who wear the uniform.

Now, as I said yesterday, there are two—two—major issues before the Senate right now: the annual defense bill and the vital and important effort to send $2,000 stimulus checks to American families. There are only a few days left in this session and the Senate should consider both issues before adjourning.

There’s a very simple solution to this dilemma: Leader McConnell should bring both measures up for a vote and let the chips fall where they may.

I believe both measures—the NDAA override and the $2,000 checks to American families—will both pass, but at the very least the Senate deserves the opportunity for an up-or-down vote on increasing the individual payments to the American people. So at the end of my remarks, I will ask the Senate to set a time tonight for a vote on the House bill to provide $2,000 checks.

The Republican Leader objected to a similar request I made yesterday, and it appears he may be considering a different bill that packages stimulus checks with other, unrelated and partisan policies.

So I want to be very clear about one thing: there is no other game in town besides the House bill. The only way—the only way—to get to the American people the $2,000 checks they deserve and need is to pass the House bill and pass it now.

The House has recessed for the year. Any modification or addition to the House bill cannot become law before the end of this Congress. It’s a way to kill—to kill—the bill. Make no mistake about it.

Either the Senate takes up and passes the House bill, or struggling American families will not get $2,000 checks during the worst economic crisis in 75 years.

Over the past few days, the idea of increasing the direct payments to the American people has united folks from all points on the political spectrum. And I salute the Senator from Vermont for the good job he has done in bringing this forward to the American people’s attention. An overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House supports the $2,000 checks. Senate Democrats strongly support these $2,000 checks. And our unlikely ally, President Trump, this morning tweeted: “$2,000 ASAP!”

For once, Democrats agree with something on President Trump’s twitter feed—let’s send $2,000, ASAP, to working Americans who are facing the hardest and darkest days of the pandemic.

After all the insanity that Senate Republicans have tolerated from President Trump—his attacks on the rule of law, an independent judiciary, the conduct that led to his impeachment—is this where Senate Republicans are going to draw the line? $2,000 checks to the American people? That is a bridge too far? Please.

For the awareness of my colleagues: we can have this vote tonight, and send the bill directly to the President’s desk for his signature. We can vote on the NDAA bill tonight, and finish the Senate’s business before the end of the year.

All it takes is our Republican colleagues consenting to a simple vote on the House bill to provide $2,000 checks to the American people. Yes or no. Up or down. Do you support sending $2,000 to the American people or not? Let’s have the vote.