Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is making it clear that he is not thrilled about the prospect of sending Americans $2,000 stimulus checks and increasing the national debt even more.
However, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says the $600 stimulus checks in the latest COVID-19 relief bill are not sufficient to bolster his state’s economy — which he says is “hanging by a thread” — and is urging the Kentucky senator to hold a stand-alone vote on the $2,000 checks.
During an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, Graham said, “I think if you had a stand-alone vote on the $2,000 check, it might pass.”
He said that 70% of Republicans oppose the increase in the stimulus checks due to concerns about the deficit and how effective the checks would be at providing aid to Americans who need it.
Graham said there is not time for a vote on the measure before January 3, when the new Congress is sworn in. He suggested the chamber should vote on the measure then.
“And here’s what I’d like, I’d like a stand-alone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check. We have seven Republicans who’ve already said they would vote for it. We need five more. I think if we had the vote, we would get there,” he said.
Graham also said he wants to repeal a law that gives legal protections to social media companies and establish a commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud.
He continued, “I’m urging Sen. McConnell to give us stand-alone votes in the new Congress after January 3 on all three measures. And I would predict that if you had a stand-alone vote on the $2,000 check, it’s better than 50-50 it would pass.”
Addressing concerns among his Republican colleagues adding to the national debt, Graham said, “They’re not wrong to be concerned about the expense. They’re not wrong to be concerned by the fact that this is not the most efficient way.”
“But, I’ve seen with my own eyes the destruction of small businesses in South Carolina. I am with President Trump on this. I think a family of four if they got $8,000, it would help our economy. I think they need the $8,000. The vaccine is on the way. I can’t wait till it gets here in large number. But until then, our economy is hanging by a thread.”
He added, “So, to my fiscal conservative friends, I understand your argument, but I think the facts on the ground throughout the country would require us to do more than $600.”
On Wednesday, McConnell signaled that the Senate would vote on a bill that addresses the stimulus checks, examines election integrity, and repeals legal protections for social media companies. However, he said the chamber would not separate the three issues into separate bills.