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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns 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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE have called for the amount to be increased to $2,000. 

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.