WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt by Democrats on Tuesday to hold an immediate vote on increasing stimulus checks to $2,000 from $600, leaving the fate of the measure unclear as President Trump continued to demand the larger payouts and more Republicans publicly endorsed the idea.
Instead, Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, provided vague assurances that the Senate would “begin the process” of discussing $2,000 checks and two other issues that Mr. Trump has demanded lawmakers address: election security and removing legal protections for social media platforms.
Mr. McConnell would not say whether he planned separate votes on the three issues or if he would bring them for a vote on the Senate floor at all. But in a sign of how he might approach them, the majority leader introduced new legislation on Tuesday afternoon combining the $2,000 checks, election security and social media provisions into one bill, which would most likely doom the effort.
The sudden talk of election security complicates matters, given that Mr. Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that voter fraud cost him re-election. Democrats would undoubtedly resist anything that could be seen as trying to undermine the outcome of the election.
Mr. McConnell, who has privately urged his conference members not to object to the election results when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to ratify them, portrayed the president’s request as “exploring further ways to protect the sanctity of American ballots.” The bill that Mr. McConnell is putting together would create a bipartisan commission to study election practices that “strengthened” and that “undermined the integrity of the election,” like the use of mail-in ballots and vote-by-mail procedures, which Mr. Trump has baselessly complained encouraged voter fraud.
Mr. McConnell’s move came as he faced growing pressure from Republicans to increase stimulus payments to struggling Americans.
Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who are facing tight runoff elections next week that will determine control of the Senate, announced on Tuesday that they supported increasing the size of individual stimulus checks to $2,000. They joined a handful of other Republican senators — including Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — in calling for such action.
There are five days left in the current legislative session for the Senate to act. The lack of immediate action by the chamber rankled Mr. Trump, who lashed out at lawmakers in his own party.
“Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “$600 IS NOT ENOUGH!”
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