Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News on Thursday morning that Congress should vote on a stand-alone bill for $2,000 stimulus checks, the COVID-19 pandemic relief policy that President Donald Trump has been pushing in recent weeks.
“I’m with the president on this. I’m in South Carolina, our economy is really hurting here,” said Graham, who added that such a pandemic relief measure would have to wait until the next Congress enters sessions, which would be on January 3, 2021.
Congress recently passed a bill 275-134 to increase the size of the stimulus checks, which have already been signed into law, from $600 to $2,000. Only two Democrats voted against the bill, while forty-four Republicans voted in favor of it.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proceeded to introduce his own bill that included two additional, unrelated provisions: Repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants liability protections to social media companies, and creating the Election Assistance Commission to investigate the integrity of U.S. elections.
Graham, however, said that each of these votes should be held separately. The Republican senator also agreed that others were not wrong to be concerned about the cost of issuing $2,000 stimulus checks and adding to the national debt in the process.
“They’re not wrong to be concerned about the expense; they’re not wrong to be concerned about the fact that this is not the most efficient way,” said Graham. “There are a lot of people that makes $75,000 or less a year that work for the government that haven’t been laid off one day. But I’ve seen with my own eyes the destruction of small businesses in South Carolina. I am with President Trump on this.”
Even though vaccine distribution has already started, Graham argued that South Carolina’s economy has been “hanging by a thread,” and direct relief is needed now.
“To my fiscal conservative friends, I understand your argument, but I think the facts on the ground, throughout the country, would require us to do more than $600. $600’s not enough, $2,000 is about right in my opinion, and I’m willing to vote,” added Graham.
Other Republican senators have advocated for sending out larger stimulus checks, including Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who are days away from two special elections that will decide the fate of the Senate majority, and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), who led the initial push for $1,200 stimulus checks from the Republican side earlier this month, and has since demanded a vote on $2,000 checks.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has backed the idea of sending out $2,000 checks as well: “I share many of my colleagues’ concern about the long-term effects of additional spending, but we cannot ignore the fact that millions of working class families across the nation are still in dire need of relief.”
Over at the White House, Trump has been promoting the policy through Twitter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2020
$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2020
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