Senate Republicans on Friday again blocked an attempt to give out $2,000 checks as part of coronavirus relief, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arguing against what he called a proposal to “send thousands of dollars to people who don’t need the help.”
“Socialism for rich people is a terrible way to help the American families that are actually struggling,” McConnell said in a floor speech.
“Let me say that again. Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it.”
The Treasury Department is already in the process of sending out $600 payments to those who are eligible, thanks to a relief bill that cleared Congress and was signed by President Donald Trump, who has said he thinks struggling Americans deserve $2,000 checks.
Trump said Friday he was irked the Senate did not pass legislation to provide the $2,000 checks, or take action to rein in Big Tech.
Our Republican Senate just missed the opportunity to get rid of Section 230, which gives unlimited power to Big Tech companies. Pathetic!!! Now they want to give people ravaged by the China Virus $600, rather than the $2000 which they so desperately need. Not fair, or smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2021
Sen. Bernie Sanders, using oversize checks made out to various corporations as a backdrop to illustrate corporate tax breaks, sought to have the chamber vote on that legislation. The Vermont independent was supported by Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, according to Fox News.
“That is what socialism for the rich is about,” Sanders said, citing corporate tax breaks. “Socialism for the rich is not — in the midst of this terrible pandemic — putting a $2,000 check into the hands of working families.”
“I see, if I may say so, a bit of hypocrisy here,” Sanders said.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas derailed any hope for a vote Friday, irking Hawley.
“This seems to be the Senate versus the United States of America,” Hawley said.
McConnell said Democrats “took President Trump’s suggestion and skewed it so the checks would benefit even more high-earning households.
“Imagine a family of five where the parents earn $250,000 per year and have not seen any income loss this past year. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders want to send them $5,000 from Uncle Sam,” he said.
“They make a quarter of a million dollars; nobody’s out of work; but our so-called progressive friends say that household needs, quote, ‘survival checks.’ In fact, they believe a family of five should have to earn $350,000 before the spigot of government money would stop entirely.
“Socialism for rich people. That’s what Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders have sketched out,” McConnell said.
McConnell said the Senate has not ignored those in need.
“It has been less than five days since President Trump signed into law another historic, bipartisan rescue package — targeted to Americans who actually need help,” the Senate majority leader said.
“We passed an entire second round of [Paycheck Protection Program] loans to save small business jobs, targeted to the hardest-hit. We renewed multiple kinds of additional federal benefits for unemployed workers, including an extra $300 supplement every week,” he added, noting that the bill targets assistance to those in need.
McConnell said those in need deserve help, but not those who have skated by without financial troubles.
“We do not need to let the speaker of the House do socialism for rich people in order to help those who need help. Our duty, both to struggling Americans and to taxpayers, is to focus on targeted relief that will have the maximum impact and help people who need help the most,” he said.
“That’s what the experts say we should do. That’s where there is broad, bipartisan support. And that’s exactly what we did less than one week ago when nearly $900 billion in more targeted relief was signed into law for our people.”
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