Bernie Sanders Vows ‘Massive Stimulus Bill’ if Democrats Win Control of the Senate

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Wednesday promised that Democrats would pass a “massive stimulus bill” if the party wins control of the Senate in next month’s election.

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Care In Action

Congress has been deadlocked for months on a third round financial relief for struggling American workers and businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic forces large swaths of the econonmy to remain shut down.

Negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are ongoing, and although they have both said that they are close to striking a deal, legislation is unlikely to come to fruition before November 3.

“It’s not just a number, 1.8 or 2.2 or whatever it is, it is what is in the bill. I am concerned about a slush fund that the Trump administration would have within that bill. I am very concerned that when we have millions of people who have lost their jobs, they desperately need that $600 supplement to their unemployment, they need that $1,200 check, they need health care, they need to be able to pay their rent. So the devil is in the details in terms of what is in the bill,” Sanders said on Hill.TV’s Rising.

President Donald Trump has voiced his support for a huge package as well, urging Pelosi and Mnuchin to “go big” and pleading with Senate Republicans to get on board.

The biggest obstacle, however, is Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has blocked proposals with trillion-dollar-plus price tags.

“I think it is really pathetic that you have Mitch McConnell, who today is saying, ‘I and 20 other Republicans, we don’t want to go forward with anything substantive, we’re not gonna do it,'” Sanders said.

Host Krystal Ball noted that in McConnell’s $500 proposal, the boost to unemployment benefits is reduced from $600 to $400 per week, the government would issue another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, and Republicans are adament on including provisions to protect corporations against coronavirus-related lawsuits.

“I guess the concern is, do you think that after the election, there will be another opportunity to get a big stimulus like this? You already have Republicans dragging their heals, especially in the Senate, while there is a lot for them to benefit electorally from passing aid to Americans, and as you know, you’ve got 8,000,000 Americans who have slipped into poverty since the end of the CARES Act. You’ve got rent piling up, bills piling up, utility bills electric as we head into winter, how will we get help to people?” Ball asked Sanders.

“If the Democrats gain control of the Senate, the first order of business will be a massive stimulus bill to protect desperate working people throughout this country,” said Sanders “We have seen, just the other day, in New York City, a million-and-a-half people are struggling to put food on the table. This is obscene. The first order of business for a Democratic Senate will be to protect the working class of this country with a very, very strong stimulus bill.”

Ball pressed Sanders on if he thinks “people can wait that long” for help.

“No,” Sanders replied. “I mean, I would like to see a bill passed today. As you know, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act over five months ago, and all that McConnell has to do is to allow us to vote, give us some support for that bill. We can go a long way to addressing the crisis.”

Watch the whole interview below:

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