On Wednesday, after Trump again insisted upon “$2000 ASAP!” in a tweet, McConnell said the proposal had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate” and refused to split the White House’s legislative wish list into separate measures. But that was exactly what Graham pressed the Republican leader to do on Thursday.
“Here’s what I’d like: I’d like a stand-alone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check,” Graham said. “We have seven Republicans who’ve already said they would vote for it. We need five more. I think if we had the vote, we would get there.”
The president, Graham added, “wants three things: a commission to investigate fraud, $2,000 checks, and to repeal Section 230. I’m urging Senator McConnell to give a stand-alone vote in the new Congress after January 3rd on all three measures.”
Graham is likely to get little support for the proposal even after the new Congress convenes on Monday. Later Thursday morning, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — another top Republican ally of the president — renounced the prospect of $2,000 payments, citing concerns about the national debt and the need for more targeted relief.
“I know it sounds good, it feels good to give away money. Everybody loves benefits,” Johnson told CNBC. “[But] somebody has got to be thinking about … the effect of this on our future generations.”