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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks on the Senate floor in Washington, DC, on December 31. Senate TV

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday blasted the House bill increasing stimulus payments to $2,000, which President Trump has pushed alongside Democratic leaders, saying it’s not targeted enough.

McConnell argued giving $2,000 checks to high earning households who haven’t faced job loss is “socialism for rich people”… “a terrible way to help the American families that are actually struggling.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer asked for the Senate to take up the House-passed bill to increase stimulus checks to $2,000, but McConnell objected.

“I will once again ask consent that the Senate set a time for a vote on the House bill to provide $2,000 checks to the American people,” Schumer said.

Schumer argued that the Senate should pass the House bill to increase stimulus checks to $2,000, saying, “There is one way and only one way to pass $2,000 checks before the end of the year and that’s to pass the House bill … Either the Senate takes up and passes the House bill or struggling Americans will not get $2,000 checks during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”

“The Republican leader has invented an excuse to prevent a clean, up or down, yes or no, vote on $2,000 checks coming to the floor,” he said, adding, that McConnell’s maneuver to combine the direct payments with other unrelated issues “is intended to kill the possibility of $2,000 checks ever becoming law.”

McConnell, on Tuesday, introduced legislation that combined three Trump priorities — expanded stimulus checks, a full repeal of online liability protections and an investigation into alleged voter fraud — each a prerequisite for Trump signing the Covid relief and spending package earlier this week. Trump himself has never specified that those three items should be tied together.

But on Wednesday, McConnell said the House bill had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,” and said the Democratic-led effort ran astray of what Trump actually requested.

Where things stand: There are no votes scheduled on McConnell’s bill, or the House-passed legislation, and GOP aides say it’s likely the 116th Congress comes to an end without any action on increasing direct payments.

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