Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., rejected an amendment pushed by Democrats and President Donald Trump to raise the stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000, calling it a path towards a “guaranteed minimum income.”
Senate Republicans stalled the effort to increase the latest coronavirus relief package on Tuesday, citing concerns about the nation’s enormous deficit and the lack of requirements that would ensure only those in need receive relief payments.
Democrats had the opportunity to extend targeted relief over the summer, Blackburn pointed out, but refused to negotiate.
“You could’ve had a lot more money than $2,000 in the pocket of hard-working Americans,” Blackburn told Fox Business on Monday.
“Now, we know that what the Democrats are trying to do with this is to put us on a pathway to a guaranteed the minimum income, which is one of their socialist agenda items,” she added. “And I think it is just so insulting to American citizens.”
Blackburn noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had openly acknowledged that she was playing politics by refusing to make a deal prior to the Nov. 3 election and was only open to one with a “new president” waiting in the wings.
“She came out and admitted that she had delayed getting this money to individuals through … unemployment insurance, because it benefited them politically to wait and do it until after the election,” Blackburn said.
Any further aid must be “targeted” and “temporary,” Blackburn said, so that Congress can make sure it is “there when people need it.”
But more importantly, Congress should encourage state governments to reopen their economies, she argued.
“The best stimulus is a job,” she explained.
“But [Democrats] don’t want to open the economy, they don’t want to get children back to school,” she continued. “They would prefer to keep people locked in their houses and out of work.”
Blackburn also slammed the multitude of “wasteful spending” and congressional pork in the recently passed omnibus bill, which Trump reluctantly signed after calling it a “disgrace” earlier in the week.
“The bill is an insult to injury for millions of Americans who are still out of work and still need relief,” she said.
“And the president is right about this—the priorities are wrong, and the Democrats’ priority is power and control,” she added. “It is not about helping people, which is what we have tried to do for months.”