President Donald Trump's video rant and veto threat on Tuesday night threw a wrench in the deal between Democrats and Republicans on the government funding package and the next round of COVID-19 stimulus funding.
Democrats have wanted a larger payment for Americans for the last seven months following their passage of the HEROES Act. Despite nine months of negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) never participated in the talks. It wasn't until the very end that the White House seemingly bowed out and McConnell took over, reducing the checks to Americans to an embarrassingly low amount. The parties agreed on a $600 check.
However, Trump was furious with the sum, evidently missing the part where it was Democrats wanted significantly more. So, he called on Congress Tuesday night, demanding they pass a bill that had $2,000 checks for individuals. It was a sum that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was eager to have from the beginning, so she called his bluff saying that the House would hold a vote on a $2,000 check for Americans Wednesday, asking for unanimous consent from the House members.
Given the loyalty among House Republicans to President Trump during his election battle, it shouldn't be a difficult bill to pass. But for McConnell, it's another matter entirely.
As Axios political reporter Hans Nichols explained, it put the Senate leader and other Republicans in an awkward predicament.
"Members of his own party including Sen. Mitch McConnell," he explained. "There's been some friction with from the president of the United States and Sen. McConnell. Clearly, that friction has increased. So, Republicans are in a jam. The whole entire -- what they do -- remember, this morning, the president signed a six-to-seven-day solution that just funds the government. It has implications for the Georgia senate race."
The unexpected moment was when Trump suddenly decided he cared about the COVID stimulus after taking no part in negotiations for months. The easy way to solve it for McConnell and the GOP is to simply give up and give in to Trump and hand out $2,000 checks, said the Axios reporter.
"That seems to be the president's red line," continued Nichols. "Now, technically that's going to be difficult to do. You've got to bring members of Congress back. You've got to figure out how to get the bill to the president. But the president allowed for a big space there to plus-up the numbers. And remember in that very speech he gave there, that Twitter speech. I don't think I should call it a speech but a Twitter message. He said it was cruel of Democrats to withhold aid. It's going to be hard for him to hold the position."
After Pelosi called his bluff and Democrats indicated they were on board, it's certainly going to be difficult for Trump to backtrack. Now, it is up to McConnell to crush Americans' dreams of having a reasonable sum to pay their bills this holiday season.
See the full conversation below:
Trump just put McConnell in a hard position after claiming stimulus amount 'is cruel' www.youtube.com