Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy told Fox News in a weekend interview he supports a proposal by congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump to pay a $2,000 federal stimulus to most Americans.
In his Sunday interview, Dunleavy said, “I agree with the president: The people of this country need money in their pockets now.”
The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, refused to hold a vote in the Senate on Tuesday. If it passes the Senate and is signed into law by the President, it would expand a $600 payment in the just-passed coronavirus relief bill.
Later Tuesday, McConnell proposed a different version of the stimulus increase, one that includes unrelated provisions unpopular with Democratic lawmakers.
U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, skipped Monday’s vote in the House.
Zack Brown, his press secretary, explained his reasoning in a text message.
“The congressman sincerely appreciates the President’s desire to maximize direct aid to Americans but also recognizes that this vote was simply political theater and that the bill will likely die in the Senate,” Brown said.
He added that the $2,000 stimulus measure did not come through the House’s “regular order” of doing business.
“Regular order, inclusive of those on both sides of the aisle, is the best way forward for developing a bill that can help the families who need it,” Brown said.
Young did vote on Monday to override the president’s veto of a military appropriations bill. Young was absent from the U.S. Capitol but gave permission for a fellow Republican to cast a proxy vote in his name.
Young said last summer that proxy voting is unconstitutional. Brown did not respond Monday to a question asking how Young’s vote could be reconciled with his prior statement.
Asked whether she supports the $2,000 stimulus, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, answered through her press secretary, Hannah Ray.
“Senator Murkowski is concerned that ‘stimulus payments’ that are based on 2019 income levels are not targeted relief to those who have suffered the greatest impacts in 2020. As targeted relief the package was never intended to be the last or final effort to address the health and economic fallout of the pandemic. She is willing to consider supporting additional payments, but as part of a serious relief package and not as political one-upsmanship,” Ray said by email.
In a Tuesday afternoon interview, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said he intends to evaluate both McConnell’s stimulus bill and the one passed by the House.
“If there’s need for additional stimulus for families and others, I’ll certainly consider that. From my perspective, one issue I’d like to look at is what number in terms of stimulus check is needed, how it would be targeted. There are some reports that say how it needs to be more targeted to the families that are actually really hurting,” he said.
Daily News reporter Alex DeMarban contributed.