A top GOP senator has gone against the grain of the Republican establishment to support President Donald Trump’s call for Congress to increase the amount of a second round of direct relief checks to Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic from $600 to $2,000.
Bucking objections from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) declared Friday that $2,000 checks are “necessary in the times in which we live,” Breitbart reported.
“Socialism for the rich”
The South Carolina senator’s argument came in a series of Twitter posts on New Year’s Day.
“With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, a $2k direct payment for individuals and families who are struggling is not socialism,” Graham wrote, an apparent reference to comments from McConnell likening the increased checks to “socialism for rich people.”
The majority leader had said on the Senate floor last week that data shows “many upper-middle-class Americans have kept their jobs, work remotely, and remain totally financially comfortable.”
“On the other hand, some of our fellow citizens have had their entire existences turned upside down and continue to suffer terribly,” McConnell added, according to Breitbart. “We do not need to let the speaker of the House do socialism for rich people in order to help those who need help.”
Graham goes rogue, sides with Trump
But in Graham’s eyes, the $2,000 can do some good, especially in the era of the coronavirus. The senator noted in his thread of tweets Friday that “hospitals are full” across the U.S. while businesses “are hanging by a thread.”
“Direct payments may not be most efficient way to help people in need but, given the situation we face are extremely necessary,” Graham said Friday. “Going from $600 to $2,000 doesn’t make you a socialist.”
The senator also mentioned in his remarks the president’s continued insistence that Republicans agree to up the amount of relief checks. In a tweet Friday, Trump said Americans “desperately need” the money and that it’s “[n]ot fair, or smart” for the GOP to withhold it.
Time is running out
Indeed, with just days to go until voters hit the polls in Georgia to decide which party will hold control of the Senate, Republicans can’t afford to let McConnell drop the ball.
With any luck, Trump and Graham can get the majority leader on board sooner than later.
Going from $600 to $2,000 doesn’t make you a socialist.
Mr. President, keep fighting for the American people who are suffering.
Insist on a standalone vote.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 1, 2021