‘This is a survival bill’: Lawmakers say $600 stimulus payments ‘not enough’ as Congress approves Covid relief
After a protracted legislative debate about providing much-needed financial relief to millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, progressive lawmakers criticized a final $ 900 billion deal that included $ 600 in direct payments as insufficient to handle the scale of the crisis deal with.
After an 11-hour deal was struck shortly before an extended government shutdown deadline, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Sunday that Congress “can finally report what our nation has had to hear for a long time : More help is on the way ”.
Michigan Congressman Rashida Tlaib replied on Twitter, "More help for who?"
She added, “What are the millions of people facing evictions, staying unemployed and stuck in the soup kitchen, supposed to live on $ 600? We haven't sent any help for 8 months. This is not a guide. There is no compassion, just politics of greed and power. "
The aid package includes $ 600 per person direct payment checks and an extension of up to $ 300 per week on federal unemployment benefits.
The CARES Act supported the weekly unemployment benefits with $ 600 unemployment benefits. This provision expired in July. Millions of Americans received one-time stimulus checks worth $ 1,200 in April.
However, unemployment insurance would not be retroactive, and direct payments would only apply to people who earned $ 75,000 or less based on their income in the 2019 tax year, not 2020.
The latest aid package also includes a "three-martini lunch" food cost deduction submitted by Donald Trump to aid troubled businesses. Critics criticized the measure as another piece of paper supported by Republicans in Congress while examining the benefits for unemployed Americans.
After the bill was passed, incoming Progressive Democratic Congressman Cori Bush said, "$ 600 is not enough ... $ 1,200 was already the compromise." Democratic Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman called a $ 600 incentive a "slap in the face."
Senators Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer and Josh Hawley advocated another round of $ 1,200 checks as more than 20 million Americans are still on some form of unemployment benefit and millions of others grapple financially with the economic fallout from the pandemic.
A last-minute drive by Republicans on Friday to turn down similarly sized cash payments and cut off the Federal Reserve's emergency lending capabilities threatened to undermine legislature's efforts.
Eight months later, Republicans rejected the bill before passing the bill that Congress approved to give Americans direct control after a one-time payment starting April that deposited $ 1,200 in millions of American bank accounts Efforts to do the same as the pandemic and its effects worsen.
"If this country means anything, if democracy means something, if the US government means something, it means we cannot turn our backs on this suffering," Senator Sanders said on Friday. "It means we cannot leave Washington as senators and return to our families for the vacation unless we address the pain and fear of other families in this country."
Republican Senator Ron Johnson repeatedly said that the cost of direct checks to Americans would "mortgage our children's futures," despite the $ 2.2 billion CARES Act package along with the President's tax cuts of 1, $ 75 billion and the recent adoption of $ 741 billion supported defense budget.
"We don't have an unlimited checking account," he said on Friday. "We have to worry about these things."
The Senator argued that the national debt, which rose by $ 7 trillion to $ 27 trillion in Trump's tenure, which the Senator steadfastly supported, cannot withstand additional financial relief for the struggling Americans.
"It is funny at this time of crisis that our Republican friends are suddenly discovering that we have a deficit again," added Senator Sanders. "This is a moment of emergency ... We need to respond to the needs of working families."
Senate Schumer also slammed "ridiculous" arguments among "deficit scolding" in Congress.
Democratic Congressman Ro Kanna said the final package was "less than we need and far less than we could have got earlier this year".
On Twitter, he added, “As of June, 8 million people have fallen into poverty. If we hadn't done that deal today, 12 million Americans would lose unemployment benefits. But even this is nowhere near enough for people. ... This is a survival calculation, not a progressive one. "
Democratic lawmakers touted some of the package's achievements, including funding local vaccine distribution, rental support, school funding, childcare assistance, and expanding the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or grocery stamps to millions of Americans.
Congress seals agreement on a $ 900 billion COVID relief bill
Congress avoids the shutdown as the coronavirus relief series continues
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