Congressional leaders are working to hammer out what is reported to be a roughly $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that would provide billions of dollars in aid to small businesses, vaccine distribution, and unemployed Americans.
The Washington Post reports that the bill could also include $600 stimulus checks similar to the ones sent out under the CARES Act passed in March.
However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) believes the bill is too small. On Wednesday, he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, “Everything that is in that package is vitally needed. The problem is it is a much smaller amount than the country needs in this moment of economic desperation.”
“As you know, a week ago there was virtually no discussion about direct payment, about providing help to working families and their kids, which to my mind should be the major priority because we’re looking at a moment when so many of our families are struggling to feed their kids, worried about getting evicted, have no money to go to a doctor. We’ve got to get money directly to working families.”
Watch Sanders’ interview below:
He said he is “glad” that lawmakers are reportedly including the $600 direct payments. But he added, “We have got to do more,” and called the bill a “step forward.”
President-elect Joe Biden signaled that he believes there will need to be another bill in early-2021. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he said, “The stimulus package is encouraging. It looks like they are very, very close, and it looks like there’s going to be direct cash payments.”
“But it’s a down payment, an important down payment on what’s going to have to be done beginning the end of January into February, but it’s very important it gets done,” he continued.
The proposal reported by the Post is the result of compromises by Democratic and Republican leaders who are feeling the pressure to pass some kind of a relief bill by the end of the year.