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Bernie Sanders Says No To $908B Relief

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Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaks during a campaign stop at the Town Hall Theater in New York City-bernie sanders-ss-featured

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders opposes the bipartisan $908 billion relief bill hammered out by a bipartisan group in Congress. The bill, authored by GOP Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins with Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, aims to provide an immediate stimulus relief for this year before Congress adjourns. Specifically, Sanders opposes the bill because it failed to include a round of $1,200 stimulus checks for American workers.

 RELATED: Pelosi Says No Stimulus Even as Coronavirus Cases Rise

The $908 billion plan includes $300 billion to fund a renewed Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. Also included is $240 billion for state and local government aid. An additional $180 billion is set for extended unemployment benefits at $300 per week until March. The bill also contains a provision that holds off COVID-19 liability lawsuits for businesses while states work to draft their own laws. In addition, the plan gives $16 billion for vaccine distribution, $82 billion for education, and $45 billion for transportation.

‘I Will Not Support Manchin-Romney’

In a tweet on December 5, Sanders said “The American people need help NOW! We must make sure every working-class American receives at least $1,200 and that we don’t give legal immunity to corporations who break the law. I will not support Manchin-Romney in its current form. We must fight together to improve it.” 

“While the COVID crisis is the worst it has ever been, Manchin-Romney not only provides no direct payments, it does nothing to address the healthcare crisis and provides totally inadequate assistance for the most vulnerable. That’s wrong morally and it’s wrong economically,” he added in a follow-up tweet.

Major Players Buying In

Out of the number of relief packages proposed in the second half of 2020, the Mnuchin-Romney bill appears to gather the biggest bipartisan support. From the Democrat side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are on board. Senator Mark Warner, who helped draft the bill, said that “we have got the top-line numbers done. We are working right now on language so that we can have — as early as tomorrow — a piece of legislation.” In addition, Warner said he received “pretty high assurance” the final proposal can get enough votes to make it through the Senate. 

For the Republicans, Senator Bill Cassidy said that President Donald Trump indicated he would support the bill. Also, he felt confident that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would come around eventually. However, McConnell reportedly insists on his version of the stimulus package, which contains a much smaller budget. His plan has yet to pass the Senate vote.

 Sticking Points 

Outside of a lack of stimulus checks, Sanders also called out provisions for liability protections for businesses in the pandemic. The provision ensures that businesses remain free from coronavirus-related case lawsuits. Sanders tweeted that “Despite strong Democratic opposition, this proposal provides 100% legal immunity to corporations whose irresponsibility led to the deaths of hundreds of workers. It would continue to provide a get-out-of-jail-free card to companies that put the lives of their workers at risk.” 

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The bill’s one-page summary includes a line on business protections. It read: “Provide short term federal protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits with the purpose of giving states time to develop their own response.” In fact, Republicans have insisted on including guarantees from covid-related lawsuits in every stimulus proposal. Meanwhile, Democrats oppose including that feature.

Budget Implications

The proposed $1,200 stimulus checks did not make the final cut of the bipartisan bill. The total cost for the inclusion of the stimulus checks will run up between $300 to $500 billion. This will push the $908 billion budget into trillion territory, between $1.2 to $1.4 trillion. However, any bill that exceeds $1 trillion will likely lose all Republican support. 

Instead, the bill includes a $180 billion fund for unemployment benefits to jobless Americans. This means unemployed Americans will receive $300 per week from the federal government on top of their existing state unemployment benefits. In addition, the budget will cover unemployment payments from December through March. But, it remains unclear if the bill will pay lost benefits from previous months. Also expected is an extension of unemployment benefits to self-employed and gig workers.

Racing Against the Clock

With time running out for the 116th Congress, the bipartisan group needs to fast track the stimulus bill. However, a separate spending plan requires Congress’ attention by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. At its present iteration, a stimulus plan, while lacking, is a better alternative to nothing. As Senator Joe Manchin told NBC: “We don’t have a choice now. It’s one of those things that has to be done.”

Watch the CNN interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on why he’s against the new Covid-19 relief proposal:

Do you agree with Bernie Sanders than any stimulus bill should include a $1,200 check for American workers?

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Do you agree with Bernie Sanders that the current $908 billion should contain a stimulus check? Or do you think that this version is the best chance we have for a stimulus package this year? Let us know what you think. Drop your comments in the comment section below.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Congress should be helping the business and American workers

  • Anonymous says:

    Bernie Sanders has old fashioned ideas.

  • Anonymous says:

    bernie sanders needs to stop drinking and smoking . no non no no pay raise for to his supervisor hes doing a sat. job. suspende him with out pay loser

  • Anonymous says:

    lack of stimulus & “liability protections for businesses in the pandemic. The provision ensures that businesses remain free from coronavirus-related case lawsuits….100% legal immunity to corporations whose irresponsibility led to the deaths of hundreds of workers. It would continue to provide a get-out-of-jail-free card to companies that put the lives of their workers at risk.” right there is the reason I oppose it. Every time a corporation of any kind gets a “bailout”…well, the majority of American people doesn’t feel “the trickle down” effect

  • Anon says:

    Lack of accountability/ legal immunity to businesses will allow Corporations to ‘slack off’ on cleaning their facilities/keeping them clean to protect workers & customers lives. NO IMMUNITY IN ANY PACKAGE should be given.

  • Anonymous says:

    Help the people directly and stop letting employers off the hook for lax behavior!

  • Cheryl R Washington says:

    the truth we do need to get rid of all these old ass ages people cause right now they don’t given damn about the America people and everybody needs alot of help so do business and including the employees too. We all needs to work together SHUT THE HELL UP ALL YOU OLD ASS AGES and NOBODY IS LISTEN TO NOBODY> AMERCIA PEOPLE NEEDS HELP. The way these people in the white house are doing God’s children so wrong GUESS WHAT? YOU PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE GOING TO REAP WHAT EACH ONE OF Y’ALL GONNA TO SOW DO NOT MESS WITH CHILDREN OF GOD>

  • Annir says:

    Why are you giving money to people working full-time making their normal salaries when you have people unemployed that can’t make their rent payments.?

  • Ed Britland says:

    let congress take a cut in their pay so honest workers can work cut of 40 percent would do good

  • Joe Allen Wethington says:

    I think it is about time we think about the people who are struggling to live in this pandemic. With all the pay cuts and unenjoyment along with the added cost to protect themselves they need the help. I didnt see any politician take a pay cut.. I would only include the people and small businesses period. We need to let the airlines and the USPS mend their own issues. If people cant afford to pay their bills and buy groceries what makes you think they can afford to fly or send packages. Most bills are paid for without mail. HELP the PEOPLE FIRST..

  • TONY HERNDON says:

    it makes it hard for people that cant work and hard on the working man that has a job that cant go to work because of his work place is shut down or cut back on workers for those people that cant work and for those that can work but cant go its hard to make ends meet during these bad times the 1200,oo should be passed and only this time only why we recover from this virus have a heart help the people and not your self only be fair TRUMP ISNT AT FAULT ITS YOU FOR NOT LISTENING TO HIM OR LETTING THINGS PASS THAT WAS GOOD THERE IS NO OTHER WORD FOR IT BUT GREED

  • Michaela M Orr says:

    we desperately need a direct payment, with hours cut to barely there due to covid 19, we can’t make ends meet, barely making $700 a month but ” employed with 4-8 hours a week so can’t get unemployment! the lower class needs help now

  • Richard Noland Ret Army says:

    the bastard has millions, so he doesn’t give a damn average person

  • Lisa says:

    Gee’s when are you idiots going to get that old cob web ridden,dust covered Pukelosi an 💩head Schumer, Crab Cortez, an Mohammed’s inbreed sister, corrupt Maxine (needs to be thrown in the) Waters, an Rev. nothing Sharpton dirt bag, out of the Government? These are the most corrupt of the entire Government? They have been proven to stole an laundered money, money, an not held accountable for breaking these laws! An they do nothing but create problems,don’t care about anything but themselves an what they can get out, work less than anyone, waste of gov money, Senile, dementiaed drunks there are out of the gov! Trump should’ve docked their pay for all the money they wasted,held up Congress, an wouldn’t work,cost the gov all the yrs they have been in office! They don’t work but one week a yr, abuse Theyre Athority! Who the hell put Sharpen in any part of the gov? GET THEM OUT!

  • margaret says:

    evry media platform is got conflicting info. they say 2000. stim checks. here sanders is saying 1200. bidens speach said 400. over and above reg weekly unemploy amount. this video says 300.00. its all conflicting

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