The Wider World

Mitch blocks vote on $2k check

MITCH McCONNELL on Tuesday blocked a vote on the $2000 stimulus bill supported by President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats (Shutterstock).

The effort by the unlikely alliance of President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats for a $2000 COVID-19 relief check hit a wall on Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) refused to allow a Senate vote.

Already passed and signed into law is a $900 billion bill that includes $600 checks for many Americans. But the president and Democrats – who agreed to the smaller amount only as a compromise – are now pushing for the larger payout.

According to the Associated Press, the Senate will meet again on Wednesday.  “The Senate will begin a process,” said McConnell. It’s unknown whether or when the issue will be taken up again by the upper chamber.

Republicans are reportedly torn between supporting the president and sticking to the conservative principle of fiscal frugality. The effort to increase the payment was sparked by Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said, “There’s strong support for these $2000 emergency checks from every corner of the country,” according to United Press International. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed its own bill on Monday.

The AP is also reporting that the $600 payments already approved could be directly deposited electronically by Tuesday night, with paper checks mailed on Wednesday.

The News: New strain of virus in Colorado

A different and more contagious version of the COVID-19 virus has been identified in Colorado. UPI is reporting that public health officials have confirmed the first such case. It first surfaced in Great Britain and South Africa. It is not considered more lethal or resistant to vaccines, but more contagious.

STAY AT HOME, AGAIN: The California Department of Public Health on Tuesday extended stay-at-home orders for Southern California (which includes Orange County) and the San Joaquin Valley in response to crowding at intensive care units.

BIDEN ON VACCINES: President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday slammed the pace of the nation’s vaccination rollout, according to The New York Times. “As I long feared, the effort to distribute the vaccine is not progressing as it should,” he said, and vowed a “more aggressive effort” when he takes office on Jan. 20.

Sports: Rams thrown for another loss?

Coming on the heels of the loss of quarterback Jared Goff due to a hand injury, the Los Angeles Rams are faced with the possible loss of their leading receiver as they head toward a crucial game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Cooper Kupp has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which could either mean he tested positive for the virus or was exposed to someone who did.

To clinch a wild card playoff spot, the Rams (9-6) must either beat the Cardinals (8-7) or hope the Chicago Bears (8-7) lose to the Green Bay Packers (12-3).

In an effort to bolster their situation at quarterback, the Rams signed Blake Bortles from the Denver Broncos practice squad.  He has seen little action this year, but in his career, he’s passed for 17,649 yards and 103 touchdowns, with 75 interceptions.





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