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McConnell blocks Senate vote on $2K checks, hints at new package

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On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked a Democratic effort to bring legislation that the House passed Monday to increase the money in stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, despite President Donald Trump and others demanding this change to checks.

Congress, after months of negotiations, had agreed on the tinier $600 checks to individual Americans as part of a compromise to push through the massive end-of-the-year COVID-19 relief bill that Trump hesitantly signed into law on Sunday. Trump, however, is pushing for Congress to increase the amount of money in these checks to $2,000.

RELATED: Trump Signs Covid-19 Bill: Announces Congress Review of Section 230

The Kentucky Republican, who has spoken little publicly about Trump’s demands, did not directly explain why he objected, but under the Senate’s rules, any single senator can stonewall attempts to schedule votes or pass legislation. Additionally, the Republican leader offered little to no indication of his plans going forward.

“The Senate will begin a process,” McConnell said Tuesday, also saying he intends to bring Trump’s demand for the $2,000 checks and other issues left on the table “into focus.”

A growing list of Republicans, including the two Georgia senators facing contentious runoff elections on January 5 in the Peach State, have stated they will support the enlarged checks.

“I’m delighted to support the president,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Fox News about Trump’s calls for $2,000 checks. In another interview on Fox, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) expressed that she also supports this move.

Most Republican senators, nonetheless, still object to increased spending.

Tuesday morning before the Senate’s session, the president reemphasized his demands, tweeting: “$2000 for our great people, not $600!”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1343916418316824583

Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) attempted to get consent for the Senate to bring the legislation passed by the House on Monday up for a vote.

“We should not adjourn until the Senate holds a vote,” Schumer said, while making a motion to push the legislation toward a vote.

Moreover, Sanders, who’s leading a group of progressive senators who support the increased money in checks, will filibuster a vote to override Trump’s defense bill veto unless the Senate holds a vote on sending $2,000 checks to individual Americans.

“McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that. But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment,” Sanders said in a Monday night interview.

The democratic socialist from Vermont ultimately cannot prevent the vote to override the veto on the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). He can, however, stall it until January 1, making life harder for Republicans.

Separately, McConnell hinted that in a package he could bundle the $2,000 checks with a repeal of Section 230, which gives social media companies like Twitter and Facebook liability protections. When Trump signed the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Sunday, he said the Senate would “start the process for a vote” that deals with the trio of issues.

“During this process, the president highlighted three additional issues of national significance he would like to see Congress tackle together,” McConnell said Tuesday.

“Those are the three important subjects the president has linked together. This week the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus,” he added.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Economy

Americans are paying the highest taxes and largest share of GDP ever

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“People are now paying more in total income taxes than ever, even considering the 2017 tax cuts signed by former President Donald Trump. And they will be paying significantly more when elements of those tax cuts expire in 2025” according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The Washington Examiner reports on the CBO’s analysis that the Treasury expects a 28% surge in individual income taxes this year. The analysis was presented to Congress on Thursday, and explained more income taxes are ahead in 2025 after the Trump tax cuts expire.

“Receipts from individual income taxes — the largest source of federal revenues — rose sharply in 2021 and are projected to do so again in 2022 as the economy recovers from recession and temporary provisions enacted in response to the pandemic expire. Those receipts are projected to rise again after 2025 because of the scheduled expiration of some provisions of the 2017 tax act,” read the report.

“In 2021, receipts from individual income taxes totaled $2.0 trillion, or 9.1% of GDP. Under current law, and on the basis of receipts observed through late April of this year, CBO expects individual income tax receipts to rise by 28% in 2022, to $2.6 trillion. At 10.6% of GDP, that total is expected to be the highest amount of individual income tax receipts recorded since 1913, when ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment authorized the federal government to begin collecting income taxes,” said the report.

Additionally, the CBO stated that the overall federal revenue is expected to reach a record $4.8 trillion in 2022, a 19% one-year increase. “The strong revenue growth in 2021 and 2022 results mostly from large increases in collections of individual income taxes. Total revenues in 2022 are projected to equal 19.6% of the nation’s gross domestic product — the largest annual revenues relative to the size of the economy since 2000.”

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