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

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Senators reintroduce bill to block NATO withdrawal New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations MORE (R-Fla.) said on Monday that he backs President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he 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 PelosiHouse Republican proposes constitutional amendment to prevent Supreme Court expansion Business groups oppose Paycheck Fairness Act, citing concerns it could threaten bonuses and negotiating New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations 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 McConnellMcCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election Democrats roll out legislation to expand Supreme Court Wall Street spent .9B on campaigns, lobbying in 2020 election: study 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.