- Sanders is urging Democratic congressional leaders to reject the "totally inadequate" bipartisan stimulus bill, which excludes direct payments.
- "What kind of negotiation is it when you go from $3.4 trillion to $188 billion in new money? That is not a negotiation. That is a collapse," Sanders told Politico.
- Sanders has been increasingly vocal in urging Congress to approve another round of $1,200 direct payments.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is hitting back against the new $908 billion bipartisan stimulus plan — and he wants Democrats to reject the relief bill because it omits a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans and carries a far smaller price tag.
In a Politico interview published Monday afternoon, the independent senator from Vermont referred to the months-long negotiations on new economic relief between Democrats and Republicans, which have gone nowhere so far.
Before supporting a $908 billion economic aid plan, House Democrats approved an expansive $3.4 trillion relief package to aid states and cities as well as individuals in May.
"What kind of negotiation is it when you go from $3.4 trillion to $188 billion in new money? That is not a negotiation. That is a collapse," Sanders told the publication. Much of the new spending for the bipartisan plan is expected to be offset from unspent federal money from the CARES Act, which Congress approved in March.
He later added: "Democrats pass a $3.4 trillion bill, you have the Republicans in the administration talking about $1.8 trillion. And now you're down to about $188 billion in new money [in the bipartisan bill], which does not include one nickel in direct payments for working families in this country. Totally unacceptable, and this has got to be rejected."
Sanders told Politico that he expressed his views to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He said he pressed the Democratic congressional leaders to use President Donald Trump's support for a stimulus package that includes direct payments to their advantage and push for a larger relief plan.
In a Fox News interview that aired Sunday, Trump said, "Right now, I want to see checks — for more money than they're talking about — going to people."
Sanders has been making increasingly vocal demands for Congress to include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks over the past week, along with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican.
During a speech on the Senate floor on Friday, he emphasized that lawmakers cannot adjourn for the holidays without passing substantial economic relief. Congress has until midnight Friday to pass another government funding bill to keep federal agencies open for at least another week, but negotiators are seeking a broader one to keep it funded until late next year.
"If I have anything to say about it — and I guess I do — we're not going to go home for the Christmas holidays unless we make sure that we provide for millions of suffering families," Sanders said.
He threatened to hold up the passage of a government spending package unless a plan he unveiled with Hawley for another round of stimulus checks was brought to a vote. Similar to direct aid extended to Americans in March and April, the proposal would send $1,200 plus an extra $500 per child to taxpayers.
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