The dispute over an increase in corona aid has sparked unusual alliances in the USA. The Democrats support President Trump’s move. But Republicans in the US Senate are blocking the plans.
An increase in direct corona aid for US citizens to $ 2,000 has little chance of success because of a blockade in the Senate. The Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said in the Chamber of Congress that the Senate would not allow itself to be harassed to rush to spend money on people, some of whom did not need it. He again rejected persistent attempts by the Democrats to quickly push through a vote on the issue.
Democrats support Trump move
McConnell pointed out during a heated debate in the Senate that Congress only approved billions in aid a few days ago. He was referring to a package of laws that includes $ 900 billion in coronavirus support and $ 1.4 trillion in federal funding through September.
The incumbent US President Donald Trump finally signed the package into force after days of blockade, but demanded an increase in a one-off payment for many US citizens from 600 to 2000 dollars. This means that he is exceptionally in line with the Democrats, who promptly had an increase in funds passed in the House of Representatives they dominated.
Trump’s Republicans, however, are divided on the issue. Many of them are against higher spending at this point and point to budget discipline.
Increase linked to demands
McConnell had presented a bill in the Senate that linked an increase in direct aid to two other Trump demands that are problematic for the Democrats: stronger regulation of online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and the establishment of a body to examine the presidential election and make proposals for more security in elections.
Linking the Corona aid to these issues makes it virtually impossible for democrats to approve the draft. The Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused McConnell of wanting to bury the push for the $ 2,000 checks badly needed by many Americans. President-elect Joe Biden also campaigned for one-off payments of $ 2,000.
Concern about the balance of power in the Senate
But some Republicans are also not happy about the resistance of their leadership, because they fear an unfavorable outcome for them in the groundbreaking runoff elections for the two Senate seats in Georgia. The results there will determine the future balance of power in the Chamber of Parliament in Washington – and thus the leeway that President-elect Joe Biden will have in legislative projects.
At the same time, such a modified draft law would have to be passed again in the House of Representatives, which would hardly be possible in terms of time. The new composition of the US Congress will meet on Sunday. Observers consider it practically impossible that the matter will move before that. McConnell made it clear that he was not ready to separate the corona aid from the other issues.
Effects on dispute over defense budget
The dispute also affects another front, where Trump is engaged in a trench war with his party. On Tuesday, the Democratically dominated House of Representatives, with the votes of many Republicans, clearly overruled a presidential veto on the new defense budget. The Senate was supposed to follow suit with a vote, but this was blocked by left-wing senators around Bernie Sanders. They demand that a vote should first be taken on the increase in corona aid desired by Trump.