These few evil Republicans .. and that is the only appropriate word to describe the likes of Lindsey Graham and several of his comrades .. who put on display in the public forum their evil and callous world view. These trolls reap obscene benefits from lobbyists, PACS and campaign contributors.. and have the audacity to protest the common citizen receiving a $600 stipend. Samantha Power wrote a Pulitzer Prize book, “A Problem from Hell-America and the Age of Genocide.” Republican members of Congress who are trying to stop this legislation are the type people Ms. Power was writing about. Or as Hannah Arendt aptly labeled this behavior in 1962, “The banality of evil.”
Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal 3.25.2020
WASHINGTON—The Senate late Wednesday moved towards voting on an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package designed to shield the economy from the ravages of the new coronavirus pandemic, after the effort hit snags earlier in the day.
The legislation hit a snag on Wednesday when a group of Senate Republicans attempted to amend the legislation to remove the $600 extra weekly payment for those receiving unemployment insurance because it could result in people getting more money while out of work than they did in their jobs.
“This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.). He, along with a few others, attempted to amend the legislation.
The $600 across-the-board increase was a bipartisan agreement, reached several days ago and was done because every state has a different unemployment program and creating a program for each state would take too much time, aides from both parties said.
“Some workers, some, may end up coming out ahead…I’m not going to stand here and say that I feel badly about that,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.). “Let’s give them that helping hand and not apologize for it for a minute.”
The Senate was expected to vote Wednesday night on the mammoth bill, though the procedure was delayed when rank-and-file members voiced objections while lawmakers were finalizing the bill’s full text.
The legislation would provide direct payments to many Americans, drastically expand unemployment insurance, offer hundreds of billions in loans to both small and large businesses, refill drained state coffers and extend additional resources to health-care providers.
“A fight has arrived on our shores,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) on the Senate floor. “We did not seek it. We did not want it. But now, we are going to win it.”
But as Senate leaders rushed to move the bill through the chamber swiftly on Wednesday, protests from Republican lawmakers over the unemployment provisions in the bill threatened to draw out the process further. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, said he would slow down the bill, if the group of Republicans did not withdraw their threat, creating a high-stakes standoff in the final stages of the negotiations.
At the White House, President Trump said that lawmakers were “very close” to passing the deal, which he praised as a boon to American workers. “I will sign it immediately,” he said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at a White House briefing he still expected the bill to pass the Senate Wednesday night.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Wednesday that she is optimistic about the legislation and said no decision had been made about when the House would try to take up the legislation, if it clears the Senate as expected.
The House is expected then to attempt quickly to pass the bill by unanimous consent, a procedure that enables the chamber to approve the legislation without lawmakers being present to vote. An objection from even a single member could slow the process. House lawmakers are currently on recess and scattered across the country.
The legislation will provide one-time checks of $1,200 to Americans with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples. Individuals and couples are eligible for an additional $500 per child. The government rebates will be pared by $5 for each $100 of income over those thresholds, completely phasing out for individuals whose incomes exceed $99,000, $146,500 for head of households with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers who don’t have children.
Eligible U.S. residents must have a work-eligible social security number to receive such a check and must not be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, according to Senate documents. Unlike an earlier proposal crafted by Senate Republicans, the payments won’t be set at a lower level for some low-income Americans.
The checks will be available to those who have no income as well as people who rely on income benefit programs, such as supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration.
Those payments would be in addition to a broad expansion in unemployment benefits, which would be extended to nontraditional employees, including gig workers and freelancers. The agreement is set to increase current unemployment assistance by $600 a week for four months.