GOP Senator Rand Paul expressed his hope that President Donald Trump will veto the economic stimulus package passed by Congress with broad bipartisan support this week, after the president attacked the legislation.
Trump shared a video message through social media on Tuesday evening, slamming the billions in spending included in the legislative package for foreign aid while providing $600 stimulus checks. The president urged Congress to adjust the bill and raise the $600 payments to $2,000â€”which progressive Democrats have called for since the spring.
Ahead of the Senate vote on the legislation this week, Paul criticized his Republican colleagues for giving out too much money in the bill. The Kentucky lawmaker raised concerns about the growing national debt and went on to vote against the bill, along with five other GOP senators.
“I hope he vetoes it,” Paul told the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends on Wednesday. However, he asserted that he does not support direct payments to most Americans, as the president has called for.
“I think giving money to people, though, who are already workingâ€”look, my kids are working and don’t need a check. They’re not rich, but they don’t need a check. And most working Americans don’t need a check right now,” he said.
“It’s a really foolish, eggheaded, left-wing, socialist idea to pass out free money to people,” Paul went on. “So I part ways with the president on giving people free money.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back before publication.
“I’m asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple,” the president said in his video message on Tuesday.
Democrats quickly backed Trump’s demand, pointing out that they had been calling for larger payments since the spring.
“Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000â€”Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, tweeted shortly after the president posted the video online.
“Let’s do it. @RashidaTlaib and I already co-wrote the COVID amendment for $2,000 checks, so it’s ready to go. Glad to see the President is willing to support our legislation,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat from New York, tweeted. She tagged Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, another progressive Democrat in the House.
“We can pass $2k checks this week if the Senate GOP agrees to stand down,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
On Wednesday morning, Pelosi tweeted a follow-up message to Trump. “Mr. President, sign the bill to keep government open! Urge McConnell and McCarthy to agree with the Democratic unanimous consent request for $2,000 direct payments! This can be done by noon on Christmas Eve!” the top Democrat wrote.