By Jack Phillips
Three Republican senators voiced support for $2,000 stimulus payments as the House approved a bill containing the increased checks on Monday night.
The House passed a bill to include the $2,000 stimulus payments after President Donald Trump last week called for them. On Sunday night, Trump passed a stimulus bill that included $600 direct payments.
It’s not yet clear if the Senate will join the House in passing the bill.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said they back the measure.
“I agree with the president that millions of working-class families are in dire need of additional relief, which is why I support $2,000 in direct payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic,” Rubio said in a Monday statement.
Hawley and Perdue on Tuesday morning made similar comments.
“Working Americans have borne the brunt of this pandemic. They’ve been hammered, through no fault of their own. They deserve $2000 in #covid relief—a fraction of what the banks & big business got. Let’s vote now,” Hawley wrote on Twitter. Perdue added that Trump “is right—I support this push for $2,000 in direct relief for the American people.”
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who, like Perdue, is battling for reelection in Senate runoff elections, has also backed the increased checks, as has Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Rubio went on to criticize Democrats for holding up additional relief for workers, families, and others.
“Remember, months ago Speaker Pelosi and Democrats rejected the Administration’s previous offer of $1,200 per adult and $1,000 per child. Thankfully, she’s finally stopped holding working families hostage,” Rubio said, echoing previous claims from Trump. Trump has pushed for stimulus payments for months, saying Americans deserve the money as the pandemic originated in China.
Rubio continued: “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. Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.”
No Senate Democrats will oppose the $2,000 payments, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted earlier this week. To pass the bill, 12 Republicans would need to join the Democrats.
Some Republicans, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), have voiced opposition to stimulus payments, saying it’s not clear how that money will be paid back.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not publicly remarked on how he plans to handle the stimulus payments. His office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Rubio also said he would introduce legislation to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that has been targeted by conservatives in recent months. Section 230 has been flagged by Republicans as essentially a liability shield for social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter as they engage in censorship.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
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