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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.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
24 hours ago - Health

NBA could vaccinate players as public service announcement

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The NBA has discussed having players receive COVID-19 vaccines to educate the public about their safety and effectiveness, commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The coronavirus has disproportionately struck Black communities, who have developed resistance towards vaccinations — and a general distrust of medical institutions — for understandable historic reasons.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Jan 20, 2021 - Health

The public health presidency

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden will take office today facing a challenge none of his modern predecessors have had to reckon with — his legacy will depend largely on how well he handles a once-in-a-century pandemic that's already raging out of control.

The big picture: Public health tends to be relatively apolitical and non-controversial. The limelight in health care politics typically belongs instead to debates over costs and coverage. But that will all change for the Biden administration.

Jan 20, 2021 - Health

In photos: U.S. cities light up for coronavirus victims

Doug Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden face the Reflecting Pool as they observe a moment of silence at a memorial for COVID-19 victims at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Cities across the U.S. lit up to honor Americans killed by the pandemic, as President-elect Joe Biden led a national mourning during a sunset ceremony in Washington, D.C., on the eve of his inauguration.

The big picture: Standing at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, surrounded by 400 lights to commemorate lives lost to COVID-19, Biden said: "To heal, we must remember." From New York City to Miami, city buildings were illuminated as part of this "national moment of unity," as the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 400,000.