GOP rebuffs Trump on $2K aid, defense as Congress wraps up

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks back to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON – The Senate wrapped up a rare New Year's Day session with Republicans rejecting President Donald Trump's demand for $2,000 COVID-19 aid checks and overriding his veto of a sweeping defense bill, an unusual one-two rebuke at the end of a chaotic Congress.

Democrats tried a final time to push forward a House-passed bill that would boost the $600 direct aid payments just approved by Congress to $2,000 as Trump demanded for millions of Americans. Republicans blocked a vote, arguing in favor of a more targeted approach.

The rejection of Trump's top priorities, along with the first veto override of his presidency, offered an unusual willingness by the president's party to confront Trump, now in his final days in the White House after losing the November election to President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump lashed out at GOP leadership on Twitter. “Pathetic!!!" he wrote.

But Trump appeared more focused on his next battle to overturn the results of the election during next week's session tallying the Electoral College votes.

Congress is ending a dizzying session, a two-year political firestorm that started with the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, was riven by impeachment and a pandemic, and now closes with the GOP's rare rebuke of the president.

Democrats vowed to swiftly revive the plan for $2,000 checks after the new Congress is sworn in Sunday.

“President-elect Joe Biden has made clear that the pandemic relief bill that Congress passed is simply a down payment on the work that needs to continue,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Democratic caucus. “We’re going to continue to fight for a $2,000 direct payment check.”