During a Thursday appearance on FNC’s “Fox & Friends,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) weighed in on the standoff over the stimulus check amount sent out to individuals in the latest coronavirus relief bill. President Donald Trump and some in the GOP are pushing for the checks to be $2,000, but others want the amount to be $600, which was agreed upon initially.
Graham said he is “with the president” on the check amount but acknowledged getting a vote by January 3 is not possible. He urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to hold a standalone vote on increasing the payout, saying it would likely pass.
“I think if you had a standalone vote on the $2,000 check, it might pass,” Graham stated. “Here are the facts: 70 percent of Republicans don’t want to go to $2,000. They think it’s a $430 billion cost to the Treasury. They think it’s an inefficient way of giving money to people who are hurting because a lot of people making $75,000 or less haven’t been out of work, but I’m with the president on this. I am in South Carolina. Our economy is really hurting here. So, McConnell is right. There’s no way to get a vote by January 3. The new Congress begins at noon, January 3. So the new Congress, you could get a vote, and here is what I’d like: I’d like a standalone vote in the new Congress on the $2,000 check. We have seven Republicans who have already said they would vote for it. We need five more. I think if we have the vote, we would get there.”
Graham said fiscal conservatives “are not wrong” to be concerned about adding to the federal debt, but he believes the economy needs more than the $600 payout to individuals.
“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,” he outlined. “There are a lot of people who make $75,000 or less a year that work for government that haven’t been laid off one day, 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.”
“If the vaccine is on the way, I can’t wait to get here in large numbers, but until then, our economy is hanging by a thread in South Carolina. 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 — $600 is not enough; $2,000 is about right in my opinion,” Graham added.
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