In a letter on Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on Democrat President-elect Joe Biden to immediately help unite the country by passing $2,000 coronavirus stimulus checks for Americans.
“Last Wednesday was one of the darkest days in our history. All across our nation, people are looking for answers and demanding accountability, but they are also desperate for hope: hope that political leaders in Washington can begin taking steps to heal our deeply divided nation,” Rubio wrote in the letter, which was first obtained by Axios. “It would send a powerful message to the American people if, on the first day of your presidency, you called on the House and Senate to send you legislation to increase the direct economic impact payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic from $600 to $2,000.”
Rubio called for a clean bill to be passed that is not loaded with political items so that Americans could get the help they need.
“All too often, popular and necessary legislation is used as leverage to secure passage for policies that cannot pass on their own merit,” Rubio wrote. “We have already seen it in the midst of the pandemic when additional funding for small businesses was blocked repeatedly for months on end. Please do not allow direct payments to the American people to get caught up in the normal political games by adding a wish list of far left or other unrelated priorities to this legislation.”
“Although I will disagree with your administration frequently over the next four years, I am committed to working in good faith to advance critically important and effective policies on behalf of the people of this great nation,” the letter concluded. “True recovery — economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually — will take time, and it will require creativity that spans beyond the typical partisan divides in Washington. We do not need partisan stunts, more show votes, or cynical ploys. You have the ability to help break the paralysis in Washington by delivering desperately needed relief. I implore you to rise above the rhetoric and deliver an increase in assistance for American families.”
The move by Rubio comes after President Donald Trump called for increasing stimulus checks last month to $2,000. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill that included $2,000 stimulus checks because the bill had been “quietly changed” by Democrats to allow “wealthy households suck up even more money.”
“After Congress and the administration finalized the bipartisan bill, the president expressed interest in further expanding the non-targeted direct payments,” McConnell continued. “So, to ensure the president was comfortable signing the bill into law, the Senate committed to beginning one process that would combine three of the president’s priorities: Larger direct checks; a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act; and further efforts to review the integrity of our democracy.”
“Three of the president’s priorities in one Senate process. That was the commitment, and that’s what happened yesterday when I introduced text reflecting just what the president had requested,” McConnell continued. “Now, House and Senate Democrats want something very different. As they have tried to do countless times in the past four years, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer are trying to pull a fast one on the president and the American people. First of all, they are hoping everyone just forgets about election integrity and Big Tech. They are desperate to ignore those two parts of President Trump’s request. Draw your own conclusions. And even on the question of larger checks, the Democrats have tried to warp what President Trump laid out.”
“Look, it’s no secret that Republicans have a diversity of views about the wisdom of borrowing hundreds of billions more to send out more non-targeted money, including to many households that have suffered no loss of income during this crisis,” McConnell continued. “COVID-19 has not affected all households equally. Not even close. It is hardly clear that the federal government’s top priority should be sending thousands of dollars to, for example, a childless couple making well into six figures who have been comfortably teleworking all year. Our duty is to get help to the people who need help. Like we did to an historic degree just four days ago.”
“But above and beyond that discussion, the Democratic leaders have broken from what President Trump proposed. They quietly changed his proposal in an attempt to let wealthy households suck up even more money,” he continued. “Speaker Pelosi structured her bill so that a family of four would have to earn more than $300,000 in order not to qualify for more cash. A family of three could pull in $250,000 per year — a quarter of a million dollars — and still qualify for some money. And Democratic leaders want to call this scheme, quote, ‘survival checks.’ Only my friends Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Leader could look at households in New York and California who make $300,000… in households where nobody has been laid off… where earnings did not even drop this past year… and conclude these rich constituents of theirs need ‘survival checks’ financed by taxpayer dollars and borrowed money.”
“Everyone sees the game here,” he continued. “These are the same Democrats who proudly block the entire aid package for months because they tried to hold out for special tax cuts for rich people in blue states. Now they say it’s a matter of ‘survival’ to send another boatload of cash to people making $300,000, regardless of whether they have experienced any disruption at all this past year.”
“But, more broadly, here’s the deal: The Senate is not going to split apart the three issues that President Trump linked together just because Democrats are afraid to address two of them,” McConnell concluded. “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of the Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help. We just approved almost a trillion dollars in aid a few days ago. It struck a balance between broad support for all kinds of households and a lot more targeted relief for those who need help most. We are going to stay smart, we’re going to stay focused, and we’re going to continue delivering on the needs of our nation.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.