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 SandersPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Bernie Sanders' ex-spokesperson apprehensive over effectiveness of SALT deductions BBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children MORE (I-Vt.) says he is pressing Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer mourns death of 'amazing' father Feehery: The honest contrarian Biden administration to release oil from strategic reserve: reports 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.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Biden eyes new path for Fed despite Powell pick Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Storms a growing danger for East Coast MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Pledged money not going to Indigenous causes Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyLawmakers call on Olympic committee to press China on human rights abuses Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid MORE (Ore.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos Overnight Energy & Environment — House passes giant climate, social policy bill Senate confirms Park Service director after years of acting heads MORE (Ore.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Lobbying world Democrats optimistic as social spending bill heads to Senate 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 HawleyGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (R-Mo.), who lobbied President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves 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 PelosiFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Bipartisan success in the Senate signals room for more compromise The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous 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.