As Republicans negotiate a $1 trillion or more stimulus relief package that is expected to contain a second COVID-19 stimulus check in some form, a top Republican left the room, saying the room full of GOP Senators and officials had basically turned into bunch of “Bernie Bros.”
That comment came from Rand Paul, the Republican Senator from Kentucky, who also compared Republicans grappling over stimulus spending to “Socialist Democrats.” Paul’s comments didn’t single out a specific provision in a second relief package other than education spending. However, a second relief package could contain another stimulus check for Americans, expansion of the $600 extra per week for unemployment benefits, more small business grants, and a payroll tax cut, among other things. Even at $1 trillion, some experts think there won’t be enough money for all of those things in contrast to the Democrats’ more than $3 trillion plan.
On July 23, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin revealed that the second stimulus checks will follow the same amount and eligibility rules as the first; that means millions of people will get another $1,200 check. The eligibility rules for the first round of checks specified that people earning less than $75,000 would qualify, with the checks being phased out up to $99,000 in income.
It’s the overall cost of that which had the Republican senator upset.
Just came from Progressive Democrat, whoops, I’m mean Republican caucus:
They’re going to spend $105b more on education, more than we spend every year on the Dept of Education. Anyone remember when Reagan conservatives were for eliminating the Federal Dept. of Education?
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 21, 2020
“I just walked out of a meeting that could be sort of a Bernie bros, progressive caucus,” Paul said, according to The New York Times. “I’m alarmed that we’re talking about spending another trillion dollars we don’t have.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said that a second stimulus package would start at $1 trillion in spending. “We’re focused on starting with another trillion dollars, we think that will make a big impact,” Mnuchin said while standing alongside powerful GOP figures like President Donald Trump and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to Fox Business.
Here’s what you need to know:
Paul Called Talks to Spend at Least Another $1 Trillion ‘Fiscally Irresponsible’
Some Republicans have called for a $1 trillion cap on the relief package, but Democrats previously approved a plan that would spend more than $3 trillion on stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and the rest. Rand Paul is upset about the lower figure being too high.
Paul wrote on Twitter, “The majority of Republicans are now no different than socialist Democrats when it comes to debt. They simply don’t care about debt and are preparing to add at least another trillion dollars in debt this month, combined with the trillions from earlier this summer.”
He added: “Just came from Progressive Democrat, whoops, I’m mean Republican caucus: They’re going to spend $105b more on education, more than we spend every year on the Dept of Education. Anyone remember when Reagan conservatives were for eliminating the Federal Dept. of Education?”
Paul told The Washington Times, “They’re talking about spending another trillion dollars. It’s fiscally irresponsible and they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Other Republicans Are Speaking Out About the Spending Too
If another Republicans bolt, it could spell trouble for the plan or result in compromise that leads to a smaller amount or income guidelines for a second stimulus check and other measures. Some other Republicans are speaking out.
“At lunch today I asked my Republican colleagues, ‘What in the hell are we doing?'” Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas told CNN on July 21. “We’ll see where this ends up, we still don’t know the details of this initial proposal, but, as it’s written right now, I’m not only a no, I’m a hell no.”
Cruz wrote on Twitter: “As our nation continues to work through these unprecedented public health and economic crises, Congress should focus on reopening the economy and getting people back to work. Not shoveling more cash onto our pile of national debt.”
As our nation continues to work through these unprecedented public health and economic crises, Congress should focus on reopening the economy and getting people back to work. Not shoveling more cash onto our pile of national debt. pic.twitter.com/a4X0UAwkKn
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 22, 2020
Republicans “remained deeply divided over several key elements,” The New York Times reported.
In a speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican plan should contain a second round of stimulus checks, loans for small businesses, and $105 billion for schools, according to CNN. He acknowledged that all Republican senators weren’t on board.
He told CNN that the GOP plan “enjoys fairly significant support among Republican senators” but “not everyone.”
The Republicans in the Senate have only three weeks to act before they go into August recess.