US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shot down calls by both President Donald Trump and Democrats in the House of Representatives to boost cash handouts to Americans struggling as a result of coronavirus.
Blocking a Senate vote on increasing aid cheques to from $600 to $2,000, the GOP leader argued that Congress had already provided enough pandemic aid.
“We just approved almost a trillion dollars in aid a few days ago,” McConnell said, adding he would not be “bullied” into approving the measure – which also has the backing of dozens of Republicans.
“If specific, struggling households still need more help … the Senate will consider smart targeted aid … not another firehose of borrowed money.”
The unusual alliance between Trump and the Democrats creates one final standoff between the President and his Republican Party, just days before new lawmakers are set to be sworn into office.
President-elect Joe Biden also supports an increase in coronavirus relief aid.
Analysts warn McConnell’s refusal to act may cost the Republican Party two Georgia Senate seats – and control of the Senate – in the state’s in upcoming runoff elections.