- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2020

Sen. Bernard Sanders on Monday doubled down on his call for another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans ahead of the official unveiling of the bipartisan $908 billion coronavirus relief package.

“As a result of the pandemic, tens of millions of Americans are facing economic desperation. They can’t afford to pay their rent and face eviction, they can’t afford to go to the doctor, they can’t afford to feed their children, and they are going deeper and deeper into debt,” Mr. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont, said in a statement.

“Congress cannot go home for the Christmas holidays until we pass legislation which provides a $1,200 direct payment to working-class adults, $2,400 for couples, and a $500 payment to their children,” he added.

That bipartisan group is set to formally unveil their proposal later Monday afternoon, with the full $908 billion split into two separate bills.

Mr. Sanders told Politico in an interview that he urged Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, to reject the bipartisan bid, and said the proposal falls far too short compared to the other bills pushed by the Democrats earlier this year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, has embraced the bipartisan package as a hopeful starting point for a deal and said she was willing to accept a smaller relief package because of the new incoming administration.

Mr. Sanders and Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, are pushing for a vote on their own measure that would provide another round of direct payments in the Senate, eyeing the upcoming government funding package as potential leverage.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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