Despite that fact that millions of Americans are now out of work and unable to earn wages as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has paralyzed most business activity in the United States, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and a handful of other GOP senators are urging President Donald Trump to refuse cash payments to taxpayers, according to The Hill:
“President Trump’s signature proposal to send $1,200 direct payments to the public received pointed pushback from senior Senate Republicans at a meeting Thursday where GOP negotiators unveiled their version of a $1 trillion stimulus plan.
“Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham raised objections to the direct-payment proposal after the meeting.”
Specifically, Graham objects to direct payments. He remarked:
“I’d rather take that $250 billion and put it in a system that will give people sustainable income. Direct payments make sense when the economy is beginning to restart, makes no sense now because it’s just money.
“What I want is income, not one check. I want you to get a check you can count on every week, not one week. Here’s what I’m focused on: You have unemployment insurance that is totally inadequate, let’s beef it up.”
Shelby echoed Graham, noting:
“I personally think that if we’re going to help people, we ought to direct the cash payments maybe as a supplement to unemployment not to the people that are still working every day, just a blanket cash check to everybody in America that making up to $75,000. I don’t know the logic to that.”
That position seems to be growing more popular with other senators, too. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he favors boosting unemployment benefits:
“I think the best way to help people who are out of work from quarantine and the coronavirus is through unemployment benefits.”
“I think it should be related to employment or unemployment. If you’re still employed and doing well, why would we want to send you $1,000? It just seems to me fiscally irresponsible just to send everybody money.”
Whatever path they decide to take, senators are clearly feeling the heat to do something that will ease the fears of voters in an election year, with Graham remarking that if Republicans don’t come up with some form of financial relief, “We’re going to get our asses kicked.”
Then again, that might be exactly what the country needs most: Fewer GOP members of Congress.
Featured Image Via NBC News