Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders to delay defense veto override unless Senate votes on $2,000 payments

Photo of Bernie Sanders speaking as his hands gesture in the air
Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) plans to filibuster the Senate’s veto override of the bipartisan defense bill unless the chamber holds a vote on the $2,000 stimulus payments included in the COVID relief bill, Politico reported Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's unlikely Sanders will stop the vote on the veto override, delaying it until New Year's Day could create new hurdles for the Republican Party.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not yet announced plans for a vote on the stimulus checks.

The big picture: "The American people are desperate, and the Senate has got to do its job before leaving town," Sanders told Politico. "It would be unconscionable, especially after the House did the right thing, for the Senate to simply leave Washington without voting on this."

  • This delay tactic would cause disruption to Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who are campaigning for their Jan. 5 Georgia runoff races for control of the Senate.
  • Keeping them in D.C. would focus the race on their lack of explicit support for the payments, Politico writes, which their challengers have endorsed.
  • It's unknown whether the $2,000 direct payments have enough support among Republicans to pass the Senate. At least 13 Republicans would have to cross the aisle.
  • President Trump signed the relief bill on Sunday but pushed Congress to increase the $600 direct payments originally outlined to $2,000 per individual.

What to watch: The Senate is expected to hold its vote on the defense bill veto override on Tuesday.

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