Rubio backs Trump's push for $2,000 direct payments

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPut partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Fla.) said on Monday that he backs President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE’s push to increase the direct payments to Americans for COVID-19 relief to $2,000, up from the $600 allocated in the package that Trump signed Sunday.

“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 statement that came shortly before the House voted in support of the increase.

The Florida senator sided with the president after Trump criticized the relief package passed by Congress last week for not providing enough direct payments to Americans making less than $75,000 per year. 

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The measure currently faces an uncertain future in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Rubio placed blame on Democrats for the lack of relief this year after negotiations between both parties and the White House stalled for months before the legislation passed last week. 

“For months, Republicans tried to pass additional relief for workers, families, and small businesses — only to be rejected by Democrats at every turn,” he said. “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.”

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better Let's 'reimagine' political corruption Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement MORE (D-Calif.) previously rejected other proposals from the White House and Republicans for not offering enough money in the last several months. But Republicans, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Actor John Krasinski films outside White House Biden's Supreme Court choice: A political promise, but also a matter of justice Let's 'reimagine' political corruption MORE (Ky.), have expressed reluctance to funnel larger amounts of money for relief and stimulus checks. 

“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,” Rubio said in his statement. “Congress should quickly pass legislation to increase direct payments to Americans to $2,000.”

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On Sunday, Trump signed the $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that passed Congress last week, which allocates $600 for every adult who makes less than $75,000 annually and an additional $600 per child. But his signature came after days of uncertainty as he criticized the legislation but did not indicate whether he would sign or veto it. 

“Despite all of this wasteful spending and much more, the $900 billion package provides hardworking taxpayers with only $600 each in relief payments, and not enough money is given to small businesses, and in particular restaurants, whose owners have suffered so grievously,” Trump said in a video last week.

McConnell applauded the president’s signature of the bill but did not acknowledge Trump’s calls for higher direct payments. The Senate majority leader previously countered arguments for larger stimulus checks, indicating the GOP-majority Senate would be unlikely to pass them.