Trump’s call for $2,000 stimulus check divides GOP

Few Republican lawmakers are speaking out on their support or opposition to the president's demands

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President Donald Trump‘s criticism and refusal to sign the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill has left Republican senators divided and will leave many struggling Americans without protection from evictions and without economic relief.

As Covid-19 worsened, upending the lives of millions, Congress stalled in their negotiations, and finally last week they reached a bipartisan stimulus package that included $600 direct payments to citizens.

Although Trump was mostly absent from the negotiations, the White House indicated that he was on board. But soon after lawmakers in both chambers of Congress approved an agreement, the president said in a Tuesday video message that he opposed the deal, calling it “a disgrace” for providing only “a measly $600” in stimulus checks.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks past reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“I simply want to get our great people $2000,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Trump loyalist, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, spent time with the president on Christmas Day. Known for flip flopping on issues, Graham sided with Trump and denounced the relief package.

“I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection. I hope Congress is listening,” Graham tweeted on Saturday.

Read More: Trump, Lindsey Graham play golf, discuss stimulus checks on Christmas

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is also in favor of Trump’s call for $2,000 direct payments.

“@realdonaldtrump is right — workers deserve much more than $600, as I have repeatedly said & fought for. And there’s obviously plenty of $$ to do it — look at what Congress threw away on corporate giveaways & foreign buyouts. Let’s get it done,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

According to Newsweek, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and most Republican senators have not spoken on the subject, but a few Republican senators have spoken out against Trump’s demands.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri warned the president that attempting to amend the bill would be “a mistake.”

Dusk falls over the Capitol, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in Washington. Congressional leaders have hashed out a massive, year-end catchall bill that combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion spending bill and reams of other unfinished legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“It took us a long time to get where we are. I think reopening the bill would be a mistake. The best way out of this is for the president to sign the bill, and I still hope that’s what he does,” Blunt told reporters.

Read More: McConnell pushing White House to stop stimulus talks until after election

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky repeated his opposition to any direct payments, stating that he believes any direct payment to working people is wrong.

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