Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) backed President Donald Trump’s call to increase the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 on Jan. 1 after they were blocked for the fourth day running by Republicans.
The newly signed $920 billion COVID-19 relief package includes $600 checks, but Trump and Democrats want to increase that amount to $2,000 on the basis that many Americans are in dire need of the extra money after the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic ravaged the country.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) branded the proposal of $2,000 relief payments as “socialism for the rich” on Thursday, and Republicans blocked unanimous consent requests to pass or hold a vote on the bill for a fourth day on Friday.
“Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. He added that it is a “terrible way to get help to families who actually need it.”
But Graham pushed back on McConnell’s statement in a tweet on Friday, stating that the $2,000 checks are “necessary” amid the current CCP virus pandemic.
“With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, a $2K direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism,” Graham tweeted. “In my view it is necessary in the times in which we live.”
“The country is being overwhelmed by COVID, hospitals are full, and businesses are hanging by a thread. Direct payments may not be the most efficient way to help people in need but, given the situation we face, are extremely necessary,” he continued.
“Going from $600 to $2,000 doesn’t make you a socialist. Mr. President, keep fighting for the American people who are suffering. Insist on a standalone vote.”
McConnell introduced a proposal earlier this week that would link any vote on $2,000 checks to a package that included a repeal of Section 230 and the establishment of an election integrity commission, which are also supported by Trump.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a self-described socialist who caucuses with Democrats, blasted McConnell’s proposed bill, while pushing for him and other Senate Republicans to pass the $2,000 direct payments as a standalone bill, which was rejected.
“As someone who disagrees with Trump on everything, I’ve got to say he’s right on the need for this $2,000 check and I hope the Republican leadership listens to him,” Sanders told The Hill on Wednesday.
“Do you think that all over America people are saying, ‘My God, we have to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, my God, that is a major national priority.’ Nobody even knows what that is.”
In December, congressional leaders reached a long-sought deal on a new CCP virus package that included $600 checks for taxpayers; half of the $1,200 checks provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in March.
The bill also provides an additional $600 for each child under age 17, which represents a $100 increase compared to the previous stimulus payment.
The cash payment is subject to the same income limits as in the CARES Act, phasing out after $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. A family of four could receive as much as $2,400 in payments.