Senate rejects $2,000 stimulus checks, overrides Trump defense spending veto

The Senate wrapped up a rare New Year’s Day session with Republicans rejecting President Trump’s demand for $2,000 COVID-19 aid checks and overriding his veto of a sweeping defense bill, an unusual one-two rebuke at the end of a chaotic Congress.
Democrats tried a final time to push forward a House-passed bill that would boost the $600 direct aid payments just approved by Congress to $2,000 as Trump demanded for millions of Americans. Republicans blocked a vote, arguing in favor of a more targeted approach.
The rejection of Trump’s top priorities, along with the first veto override of his presidency, offered an unusual willingness by the president’s party to confront Trump, now in his final days in the White House after losing the November election to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump lashed out at GOP leadership on Twitter. “Pathetic!!!” he wrote.
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But Trump appeared more focused on his next battle to overturn the results of the election during next week’s session tallying the Electoral College votes.
Democrats vowed to swiftly revive the $2,000 checks after the new Congress is sworn in Sunday.
“President-elect Joe Biden has made clear that the pandemic relief bill that Congress passed is simply a down payment on the work that needs to continue,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Democratic caucus. “We’re going to continue to fight for a $2,000 direct payment check.”
Tensions ran high as senators sniped over slogging through the holiday season at the Capitol.
Trump’s demands for additional aid upended the year-end COVID-19 relief and federal funding package, forcing his Republican allies to stand alone as Democrats embraced his push for more direct payments to struggling American households.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tried, as he has all week, to push the proposal for a vote.
“This is it — the last chance,” Schumer said.
The New York senator said “the only thing standing in the way” is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators.
The second-ranking Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, rose to object, saying the proposal was “not an effective way” to meet the needs of Americans.

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