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Graham bucks McConnell: $2,000 payments 'not socialism'

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) pushed back Friday on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE’s (R-Ky.) characterization of $2,000 coronavirus relief payments to Americans as “socialism for the rich.”

“With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, a $2k direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism,” Graham tweeted. “In my view it is necessary in the times in which we live.”

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Last month, congressional leaders reached a long-sought deal on a new coronavirus package that included $600 checks for taxpayers, though both Democrats and President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE have called for the amount to be increased to $2,000. 

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The House has passed a stand-alone bill increasing the payments, but McConnell has signaled it is going nowhere in the Senate.

"We do not need to let the Speaker of the House do socialism for rich people in order to help those who need help," McConnell said Thursday after blocking the measure for the third consecutive days.

McConnell has introduced a proposal that would tie the larger checks to tech and electoral provisions also supported by Trump, but the measure is unlikely to reach the floor before the Senate’s session ends Sunday.