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Sanders presses Schumer on $1,200 payments, bigger COVID-19 relief bill

Sanders presses Schumer on $1,200 payments, bigger COVID-19 relief bill

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersKlain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase Romney-Cotton, a Cancun cabbie and the minimum wage debate On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) says he is pressing Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) to fight for a bigger COVID-19 relief package that would include $1,200 stimulus checks for most Americans after Democratic leaders signaled support for a $908 billion compromise offer last week.

“You’re going to hear from us very, very shortly ... what I think you’re going to see is a letter going out from a number of us to try to rally the Democratic caucus to stand tall and make sure that every working family in this country gets a direct payment of $1,200 and $500 for their kids,” Sanders told reporters.

Sanders said he has already talked with Schumer about the issue. Sanders is arguing that the total amount of new federal money that would be injected into the economy would in reality be far less than $908 billion because much of it would be repurposed from unused funds appropriated by the CARES Act in March.

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“Remember, it’s not really $908 billion in new money, it’s … $348 billion in new money and the rest is transferred from old money that was in the CARES Act,” he said, referring to a compromise proposal a bipartisan group of Senate and House lawmakers introduced last week.

“I think Democrats are going to have to stand up, fight for a working class in America today that is hurting in a way that we have not seen in recent years. The idea that McConnell and the Republicans are not supporting a $1,200 check for individuals up to a certain limit — similar to the CARES Act — and $500 for the kids is absolutely unacceptable,” Sanders said. “There’s a lot of pain out there. The American people are looking to us for help and Democrats [should] stand up for working families of this country.”

Sanders and five other Democratic senators released a “Dear Colleague” letter Tuesday criticizing the moderates’ $908 compromise proposal. They called for a larger package including another round of $1,200 direct payments.

“Unlike the CARES Act, which we passed in March, this proposal only provides a $300 supplement for unemployed workers rather than $600 a week. Further, unlike the $1,200 direct payment for every working class individual and $500 for each child, it provides absolutely no direct payment,” they wrote.

“Please join us in demanding that any new COVID-relief proposal includes a $1,200 direct payment to adults and $500 to their children,” they added.

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Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBecerra says he wants to 'build on' ObamaCare when pressed on Medicare for All Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyLawmakers commemorate one-year anniversary of Arbery's killing Democrats revive debate over calling impeachment witnesses LIVE COVERAGE: Senate trial moves to closing arguments MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyEx-Capitol Police chief did not get FBI report warning of violence on Jan. 6 Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line Democrats revive debate over calling impeachment witnesses MORE (Ore.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBiden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' MORE (Ore.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandCapito asks White House to allow toxic chemicals rule to proceed Lobbying world The Memo: Punish Trump or risk a repeat, warn Democrats MORE (N.Y.) also signed the letter.

“Simply stated, given the horrific extent of the current crisis and the desperation that working families all over this country are experiencing, this proposal does not go anywhere near far enough,” they said of the moderates’ offer.

Sanders said he is also talking to conservative Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTrump to attack Biden in CPAC speech Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan MORE (R-Mo.), who lobbied President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE in a phone call over the weekend to veto any coronavirus relief bill that does not include a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks for individuals making up to a certain amount.

Sanders said he hopes Hawley will be able to rally other Republicans to back a larger bill.

“I’ve talked to Sen. Hawley and I hope very much he can rally some other Republicans,” Sanders said. “I think Trump supporters out there like everybody else are hurting right now. Many have lost their jobs, many are struggling with issues of eviction. They want that $1,200 and I hope the Republican leadership and members of the Republican caucus understand that.”

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Republican attempts to appeal fine for bypassing metal detector outside chamber MORE (D-Calif.) expressed support for the $908 billion compromise plan last week, calling it a basis for COVID-19 relief talks.

Updated: 2:17 p.m.