Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina is urging Senate Republicans to pass a larger stimulus relief bill as the Senate is poised to take up a much smaller version than Democrats support.
Graham’s comments highlight continued discord among Republicans in the U.S. Senate over how much money to give a second stimulus relief package.
For weeks, Republicans, Democrats and the White House have been at loggerheads over the plan’s overall price tag, with everything from second stimulus payments to extended unemployment benefits hanging in the balance. Republicans previously tried to pass a pared-back version but Democrats wouldn’t go along with it. Democrats have passed their own $2.2 trillion, but the White House and some Republicans in the Senate have balked at that, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell making it clear he couldn’t get his members to support it. The White House pitched a $1.8 trillion package with President Donald Trump saying he’d go even higher, but that was a non-starter with everyone too.
Enter Graham to the rhetorical debate. He wants the GOP to support a bigger plan than the $500 billion on the table this week.
Here’s what you need to know:
Graham Says Republicans Should Go ‘Big’ & ‘Smart’
In an interview on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren aired on Octoer 18, Graham urged Republicans to go “big” and “smart.”
Graham said Republicans should support a larger price tag, but he doesn’t like some things in the version of the package passed by House Democrats.
“The $2.2 trillion coming out of the House has a mandate for ballot harvesting. What’s that got to do COVID?” Graham said. “And the $1,200 payment, which I support, doesn’t require a Social Security number to get it, so a lot of the money would go to illegal immigrants.”
Graham did indicate that $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits would be a tough sell with Republicans, although a lesser amount might get through. “There are some Republicans who don’t want to spend anymore,” Graham said. “I think we need more money, but we don’t need policy provisions like the House has.”
McConnell Is Bringing a Smaller Plan to a Vote While Pelosi Stays Firm for $2.2 Trillion
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans two stimulus-related votes during the week of October 19. One would provide new funding to the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses. The other would put forth a $500 billion stimulus relief plan because that’s all McConnell thinks his members will support.
“Republicans do not agree that nothing is better than something for working families,” McConnell said in a statement. “The American people need Democrats to stop blocking bipartisan funding and let us replenish the PPP before more Americans lose their jobs needlessly.”
For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s aide wrote on Twitter that she was giving the GOP a 48-hour deadline to pass the House $2.2 trillion package if anything is going to get done before the November election. The aide, Drew Hamill, wrote on Twitter, in part, “While there was some encouraging news on testing, there remains work to do to ensure there is a comprehensive testing plan that includes contact tracing and additional measures to address the virus’ disproportionate impact on communities of color. There remains an array of additional differences as we go provision by provision that must be addressed in a comprehensive manner in the next 48 hours.”