The most recent legislative battle taking place in the Senate had to do with stimulus checks for COVID-19 relief and the extent of government expenditure.
Republicans pushed two amendments, both to prevent taxpayer-funded stimulus checks from going to convicts and illegal aliens.
Democrats, this time around, stood united and blocked both amendments making the stimulus checks go to convicts and illegals as well. The votes, in both cases, were 50-49 in favor of the Democrats.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), had to leave early to attend his stepfather’s funeral leaving Republicans with only 49 votes. According to Fox News, “Inmates are included among those receiving stimulus checks, just as in the two previous COVID relief bills that offered $1,200 and $600 checks.”
The Republicans’ idea was to lower the costs of such subsidies and protect, they argued, taxpayer dollars.
For example, Bill Cassidy (R-LA), one of the senators who introduced the amendment along with Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), said, “Prisoners don’t pay taxes. Taxpayers pay for all their needs. Prisoners cannot stimulate the economy. But, with this bill, they get stimulus checks. This is a perfect example of undirected, inappropriate and total wasteful spending. It is ridiculous that this is in the bill.”
Senator Cotton, on the other hand, commented that “COVID relief funding should go to the most hard-hit, law-abiding workers, not to inmates serving their debt to society. Unfortunately, Democrats would rather spend $2 billion on federal and state prisoners instead of American families.”
And Senator Cruz also said this was “One of the clearest examples of the irresponsibility of the Democrats’ bill is the fact that this bill prioritizes $1,400 relief payments to incarcerated felons – people who have not lost income because of COVID.”
In addition, Senator Cotton posted on his Twitter account a series of criminals who, he argues, will benefit from the stimulus checks approved by the government.
The stimulus checks will also reach illegal immigrants
As reported, Republicans not only pushed an amendment to curb the stimulus for convicts, but also another aimed at illegal migrants, but Democrats stopped both.
The Daily Wire, one of the media outlets that reported the Democrats’ blocking of the Republican amendment, reported that “Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) made the point that illegal aliens will not receive stimulus checks because “they don’t have Social Security numbers.” Thus, such individuals would not meet “the requirements to receive the stimulus checks.”
The media outlet said Cruz and Durbin “got into it on the Senate floor and Durbin accused Cruz of lying. Cruz asked if Durbin could yield for a question, which Durbin refused to take.”
The Hill reported that Durbin’s statement to Cruz was as follows, “The Texas senator’s statement is simply untrue. Let me be clear: undocumented immigrants do not have Social Security numbers, and they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks.”
However, The Daily Wire mentioned that one of their Republican sources in the Senate told them that “Durbin is wrong because the Democrats’ bill would give stimulus checks to migrants who come to the United States legally on an authorized work visa and then overstay their visa, making them illegal aliens.”
In addition, the Social Security Administration states on its website that there is “a way for non-citizens to apply for Social Security Number (SSN) cards as part of the immigration process. When you apply for your immigrant visa at the U.S. Department of State, you can also apply for an SSN card at the same time.”
It similarly reads that “If you are a non-citizen applying to enter the U.S., you must apply for a Social Security number card as part of your immigrant visa application”; and, in addition, be a lawfully admitted permanent resident.
An expensive stimulus plan
This stimulus plan will provide direct checks of $1,400 to people with incomes below $75,000, as well as additional unemployment benefits of $300. The effects of these “pandemic relief” benefits are already beginning to be seen.
For example, for the first time in history, the U.S. ranks 20th on the Heritage Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom, down three places from the 2020 report. Heritage explained that the decline, in large part, is due to measures taken to contain the pandemic, racial tensions, and the growing government deficits the U.S. is incurring to stimulate the economy.
“Until the onset of the new coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the United States enjoyed relatively robust economic growth driven by tax cuts and burdensome regulations,” the annual report says. “Unfortunately, unchecked deficit spending not only continued but accelerated. Racial tensions erupted in 2020 with riots and large demonstrations in several cities, and the government’s response to COVID-19 became a highly partisan issue in several jurisdictions.”