Sanders: Democrats will pass 'massive stimulus bill' if party flips the Senate

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE (I-Vt.) pledged Thursday that Democrats will pass a huge coronavirus relief package if they win the Senate in next month's elections.

“If the Democrats gain control of the Senate, the first order of business will be a massive stimulus bill to protect desperate working people throughout this country,” Sanders said on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

The remarks come as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Mnuchin and McConnell discuss debt limit during brief meeting Major Russian hacking group linked to ransomware attack on Sinclair: report MORE press on in their negotiations on COVID-19 aid. Pelosi has stuck to her position that a stimulus package must total at least $2.2 trillion, while the administration has inched up to $1.8 trillion. 

Both sides have said progress has been made in the past week, though no final legislation has materialized. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE has urged the two sides to “go big,” but disagreements have emerged over aid to state and local governments, which the president calls a slush fund to bail out what he says are poorly run Democratic localities. 

And Republicans in the Senate have expressed pessimism that they can get enough votes to pass a bill that goes beyond $500 billion due to concerns in the conference over the ballooning national debt.

Sanders said Senate Republicans’ hesitation to go for anything larger than $500 billion is “pathetic” but that he too has concerns over a potential bill, saying a deal must include a boost to unemployment benefits and another round of stimulus checks.

“It’s not just a number, 1.8 or 2.2 or whatever it is, it is what is in the bill. I am concerned about a slush fund that the Trump administration would have within that bill. I am very concerned that when we have millions of people who have lost their jobs, they desperately need that $600 supplement to their unemployment, they need that $1,200 check, they need health care, they need to be able to pay their rent,” he said. “So the devil is in the details in terms of what is in the bill.”