WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s push for bigger $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks is all but dead in the Senate.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing an alternative approach of loading up the bill with other White House priorities that is almost guaranteed to fail. With Republicans deeply divided over providing more aid, McConnell is trying to provide an offramp for GOP senators to avoid a tough vote.
The stonewalling drew criticism from all corners — Trump, Democrats and leading Republicans. But McConnell is unmoved.
His new bill includes the formation of a commission to investigate the 2020 election as well as a complicated repeal of big tech liability protections. That bill does not have enough widespread support to pass.
"After Congress and the administration finalized the bipartisan bill, the president expressed interest in further expanding non-targeted direct payment. So to ensure the president was comfortable signing the bill into law, the Senate committed to beginning one process that would combine three of the president's priorities. Larger direct checks, a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, and further efforts to review the integrity of our democracy," McConnell said. "Three of the president's priorities in one Senate process. that was the commitment and that's what happened yesterday when I introduced text reflecting just what the president had in fact requested."
Upset by being flagged by social media companies for false and misleading tweets, Trump has called on the repeal of Section 230. Section 230 provides legal protection for companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms for materials published by users. Without these protections, experts say social media outlets would have to heavily censor and regulate what is posted in order to not be held liable for the material.
Trump has also continued to suggest the election has been rigged, and has called on members of Congress to object to next week's counting of the Electoral College. Trump has made the allegations despite dozens of failed legal challenges.