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

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration In the final chapter of 2020, we must recommit to repairing our democracy 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 PelosiVoters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Pence, Biden wage tug of war over pandemic plans 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 John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit 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.”