Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should let the Senate vote on the CASH Act, which would increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday.
Control of the Senate in the next Congress could hinge on whether McConnell does so, Gingrich alleged, pointing to tough reelection battles that Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) face.
“I would beg him to bring up $2,000 payment as a free-standing, independent vote,” so Loeffler and Perdue would not have to return to Washington to vote before the runoffs, Gingrich said on Fox News.
If not, Democrat Senate candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who have said they support the higher payments, “can attack Mitch McConnell for the next six days, and I think it’s very hard at that point to win the race,” Gingrich added.
Warnock, Ossoff, and other Democrats criticized McConnell for blocking a unanimous consent request for the CASH Act, attempting to tie his doing so to Loeffler and Perdue.
The Georgia senators say they back higher stimulus checks, but couldn’t act because the request allowed a single senator—McConnell in this case—to block the bill.
Warnock said in a tweet that promises from Loeffler and Perdue “are useless as long as Mitch McConnell controls the Senate.”
Hours later, McConnell introduced a bill that includes the $2,000 payments but also several proposals Democrats oppose, including a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“Lot of back and forth about what’s happening in the Senate w/ $2k checks. Let’s cut to the chase—McConnell and the GOP are killing it,” Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) wrote in a tweet. Some Democrats have referred to the other issues McConnell tied to the checks as “poison pills.”
Loeffler and Perdue are in runoff elections after both failed to get a majority of the vote on Nov. 3. Loeffler is facing Warnock to serve the final two years of Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-Ga.) term. Isakson retired last year. Perdue is being challenged by Ossoff for a full, six-year term.
“The long term control of the U.S. Senate lies in Georgia. Both Georgia senators have endorsed the $2,000 payment that President Trump has proposed, and Mitch ought to bring it up with a clean vote,” Gingrich said.
“I really am very worried that if he plays a clever parliamentary game, it may look good inside the Senate but it could cost us two Senate seats and control of the Senate.”