Graham: Trump 'Determined' to Get $2,000 Stimulus Checks, Challenge Big Tech

Graham: Trump 'Determined' to Get $2,000 Stimulus Checks, Challenge Big Tech
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump disembark from Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 23, 2020. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

President Donald Trump is set on getting Americans $2,000 stimulus checks, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said late Friday after meeting with the president.

"After spending some time with President @realDonaldTrump today, I am convinced he is more determined than ever to increase stimulus payments to $2,000 per person and challenge Section 230 big tech liability protection," Graham said in a social media statement.

"Both are reasonable demands, and I hope Congress is listening. The biggest winner would be the American people," he added.

The House of Representatives and the Senate on Dec. 21 passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that included $600 stimulus checks. Congress also passed a $2.3 trillion government funding package.
A day later, Trump said lawmakers should up the checks to $2,000, threatening to veto the relief package if Congress did not. He also advised lawmakers to remove some of the funding for other countries, such as for "gender programs" in Pakistan, from the government funding bill. Trump had previously pushed for alteration or removal of Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act through the defense funding bill, and vetoed the bill when that was not included.

In the new packages, Congress "found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests while sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it,” Trump, who is at his resort in Florida for Christmas, said in a video message.

A proposal to increase the checks was blocked by Republicans while Democrats blocked a proposed change to foreign aid.
 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to reporters in Washington on Dec. 20, 2020. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to reporters in Washington on Dec. 20, 2020. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans on bringing House members back into session on Dec. 28 to vote on the proposal for $2,000 direct payments.

"If the President is serious about the $2,000 direct payments, he must call on House Republicans to end their obstruction," she said in a statement, making no mention of the foreign aid.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) issued a similar statement about the aid, without mentioning the proposal to increase direct payments, or stimulus checks.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a top Republican, was among those urging the president to sign the bills as they are, while Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a frequent Trump ally, and others criticized the very idea of direct payments.

“It’s a really foolish, airheaded, left-wing socialist idea to pass out free money to people, so I part ways with the president on giving people free money," Paul said, adding that he feels checks should go to people without jobs.

Trump wrote on Christmas that he had made many calls and engaged in many meetings at Trump International in Palm Beach.

"Why would politicians not want to give people $2,000, rather than only $600?" he posted on Twitter. "It wasn’t their fault, it was China. Give our people the money!"