- Dec 24, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dubbed the effort to increase direct payments to $2,000 “socialism for rich people,” eliciting an incredulous reaction from Sen. Bernie Sanders as the GOP Senate continued to decline to take up the matter on Thursday.
In his second consecutive day of attacks on the bill, McConnell accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of engineering a bill that sends "thousands of dollars to people who don’t need the help." He also blocked requests from Schumer and Sanders (I-Vt.) to hold votes on the bill this week.
“Borrowing from our grandkids to do socialism for rich people is a terrible way to get help to families who actually need it,” McConnell said of an effort to boost the checks from $600 to $2,000, which is supported by President Donald Trump. “Washington Democrats took President Trump’s suggestion and skewed it so the checks would benefit even more high-earning households.”
“Imagine a family of five where the parents earn $250,000 per year and have not seen any income loss this past year. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders want to send them $5,000 from Uncle Sam," McConnell said.
McConnell said "socialism for rich people" four times in his speech. Sanders responded in a fiery fashion: "The majority leader helped lead this body to pass Trump's tax bill. You want to talk about socialism for the rich Mr. Majority Leader?!”
Sanders retorted that in the bill "virtually nothing goes to the very, very rich. The overwhelming majority of those funds go to the middle class, the working class, low-income people who in the midst of the pandemic are in desperate economic condition."
Schumer joined an effort from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to press McConnell to allow a stand-alone vote on $2,000 stimulus checks in addition to Trump’s demands for an election fraud commission and repealing tech protections for big tech companies. McConnell has rolled the three issues together in one bill, which stands little chance of passing.
“Democrats are willing to vote on all the other issues the Republicans say the president supposedly cares about. Just let us vote on a clean bill for the $2,000 checks,” Schumer said.
McConnell: House’s $2,000 stimulus checks are ‘socialism for rich’
The majority leader’s comments drew a strong rebuke from Bernie Sanders.