PITTSBURGH/WASHINGTON (AP/KDKA) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked Democrats’ push to immediately bring President Donald Trump’s demand for bigger $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks up for a vote, saying the chamber would “begin a process” to address the issue.

Last night, the House of Representatives voted to give eligible Americans $2,000 — something President Trump is pushing for.

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A two-thirds majority was needed for the bill to pass in the Democratic-led House — and that’s also what was needed for it to pass in the Senate before making it to the President’s desk.

Pennsylvania’s Senators appear to be split on the idea of raising the amount of checks.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey released a statement on Tuesday, saying:

In the spring, our country’s economy was in shambles. Businesses were forced to close and millions of workers were unable to make a living. Universal direct payments made some sense then because such a huge percentage of Americans had lost income.

Thankfully, the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half since April and the economy is now rapidly rebounding. The acute problems that remain are now largely concentrated among workers in the hospitality, travel, and entertainment industries. Now, we need targeted assistance for these workers. Congress provided expanded unemployment benefits and grants to small businesses to cover payroll obligations in the recent COVID relief bill to help in this effort.

This targeted assistance is far more effective, efficient, and appropriate than large universal payments to people who had no lost income. Blindly borrowing or printing another two-thirds of a trillion dollars so we can send $2,000 to children, the deceased, and tens of millions of workers who haven’t missed a paycheck, like federal and state employees, is not sound economic policy nor is it something I am willing to support.

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While he has not provided an official statement, Democratic Senator Bob Casey posted a tweet on Dec. 23, suggesting he is in favor of $2,000 payments.

His office also released a statement on Tuesday, saying:

Majority Leader McConnell has twice blocked a vote on Democrats’ bill to put $2,000 in the pockets of struggling families. The House passed this measure by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. The same could happen in the Senate if Majority Leader McConnell would get out of the way.

The House vote came just one day after President Trump signed the sweeping coronavirus relief bill into law Sunday night.

President Trump wasn’t happy with the $600 payments included in that bill and continued to urge Congress to increase the amount of the payments to $2,000.

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