My1sttoday: GOP Senator warns $2,000 checks can’t be pass, Impels Trump to sign COVID deal a massive year-end agreement. Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, warned Thursday that President Trump’s demand for $2,000 stimulus checks can’t pass the Senate.
Blunt, acknowledging that he has “no idea” what Trump will ultimately do, said that it would be a “mistake” to try to renegotiate the bill, which ties $1.4 trillion to fund the government to $900 billion in long-sought coronavirus relief.
“It took us a long time to get to where we are. I think reopening that bill would be a mistake,” Blunt said. “The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that’s what he decides.”
Asked if he knows what the president is going to do, Blunt added: “I have no idea what he plans to do.”
Blunt, the No. 4 member of GOP leadership, is the highest-ranking Senate Republican to weigh in since Trump blindsided Washington by trashing the sweeping agreement. The deal was negotiated with the administration; many of the items called out by Trump match his budget request, and the White House had publicly said the president would sign it.
Trump also specifically urged Congress to raise the level of direct payments in the coronavirus portion of the deal from $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 to $2,000.
But Blunt warned that the idea was unlikely to go anywhere in the GOP-controlled Senate, where the stimulus checks spark division within the caucus.
“If they do, I would be surprised if we dealt with it,” he said, asked about the House potentially passing a bill dealing with direct payments on Monday.
Asked if a bill providing $2,000 checks could get the 60 votes needed to ultimately pass the Senate, Blunt added: “It would not.”