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When 2020 began, chances are that nobody predicted that a pandemic would ravage the world and that, even more shockingly, Sen. Bernie Sanders would one day both describe President Donald Trump as an “ally” and use the president’s words to make a point.
And yet Wednesday on the Senate floor, the Vermont senator did exactly that.
Ranting on the Senate floor about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow the Senate to vote on a House measure to increase stimulus payments to the American people by $1,400, Sanders described Trump as an “unlikely ally.”
“We have a very unlikely ally in President Trump. Nobody here has disagreed with Trump more times than I have, and yet here is what the leader of the Republican Party says. He says $2,000 ASAP,” the senator said.
As he spoke, his staffers unveiled a giant billboard containing a screenshot of the following tweet that the president had posted earlier that morning:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2020
“So even on this issue, amazingly enough, the president of the United States is right. So what all of this comes down to, my fellow Americans, is not even whether you agree with Sen. Schumer and myself and 78 percent of the American people or you agree with Sen. McConnell. .. It’s called democracy. We have differences of opinion. All that I am asking is give us a vote. What’s the problem?” Sanders continued.
“If you want to vote against $2,000 checks for people in your state, vote against it. … But all that we are asking for is a vote. What is the problem? In the House, over two-thirds of the members of that body, including 44 Republicans, voted to say that at this time of economic desperation, working families deserve help and they deserve a $2,000 checks.”
The unexpected move by Sanders was the first — and likely last time — that he’s ever looked to the president as a source of wisdom and guidance.
But it wasn’t the first time that he’s highlighted the president’s tweets on the Senate floor. He pulled the same stunt during the Obamacare battle in early 2017 in a bid to convince McConnell to not move forward with a plan to repeal the widely panned law.
When the president signed the coronavirus relief bill/omnibus earlier this week, he included stipulations that “wasteful items need to be removed” from the bill and that Congress must repeal Section 230 and start “an investigation into voter fraud.”
McConnell has therefore refused to move forward with a House measure that would simply increase the stimulus payments. Instead, the Senate leader proposed his own measure that combines increases in the stimulus payments with the repeal of Section 230 and the formation of a committee to study election integrity.
When his turn to speak arrived Wednesday, he defended this move.
“So, to ensure the President was comfortable signing the bill into law, the Senate committed to beginning one process that would combine three of the President’s priorities: Larger direct checks; a repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act; and further efforts to review the integrity of our democracy,” he said.
“Three of the President’s priorities in one Senate process. That was the commitment, and that’s what happened yesterday when I introduced text reflecting just what the President had requested. Now, House and Senate Democrats want something very different.”
Listen to his entire speech below:
He then took aim specifically at Sanders.
“Even the liberal Washington Post editorial board is laughing at the political left for demanding more huge giveaways with no relationship to need. Here’s what they wrote: ‘Especially wrongheaded… is the progressive left, spearheaded by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who depicts the $2,000 as aid to ‘desperate’ Americans despite the huge amounts destined for perfectly comfortable families.’ That’s from the editors of the Washington Post,” McConnell said.
This is true. In a column published Tuesday, The Washington Post’s far-left editorial board added, “Only the Senate can stop this wasteful policy.”
Interestingly, the piece triggered backlash from both far-left liberals and non-establishment populist Republicans.
Case in point:
Democracy (& it’s citizens) will die in darkness if you continue reading The Washington Post.
— Jen Perelman (@JENFL23) December 31, 2020
Bezos blog opposes direct relief for consumers as Bezos sees his own net worth increase.
Do you get it yet? https://t.co/VzX2AZwotG
— Cerno (@Cernovich) December 31, 2020
Establishment Republicans like McConnell, on the other hand, were all on board.
“COVID-19 has not affected all households equally. Not even close. It is hardly clear that the federal government’s top priority should be sending thousands of dollars to, for example, a childless couple making well into six figures who have been comfortably teleworking all year,” he continued Wednesday.
“Our duty is to get help to the people who need help. Like we did to an historic degree just four days ago,” he added, referencing the coronavirus relief bill/omnibus.
The problem, of course, is that a Business Insider/Survey monkey published last week found that 62 percent of Americans believe the original $600 stimulus payment was indeed too little.
And amazingly enough, both President Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders agree:
Give the people $2000, not $600. They have suffered enough! https://t.co/2jOVCnGtXS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2020
Trump supports the $2,000 payments, Biden supports the $2,000 and the American people support $2,000.
McConnell must allow a vote on the $2,000 payments now. pic.twitter.com/JnWNVI0Wd4
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 30, 2020
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