Graham Says Senate Should Approve ‘Big and Smart’ Stimulus Package

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
October 18, 2020Updated: October 18, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says his Republican colleagues should agree to a “big and smart” pandemic stimulus package after GOP leaders announced they’ll put forward a $500 billion bill this week, which is significantly smaller than what the White House or House Democrats have discussed.

“There are some Republicans who don’t want to spend anymore. I disagree,” Graham told “Full Court Press” host Greta Van Susteren in an interview that aired on Oct. 18.

The Senate Republican bill, notably, won’t provide $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans, although President Donald Trump has frequently pushed for it.

“I think we need more money, but we don’t need policy provisions like the House has,” Graham said, “where you reward illegal immigrants with $1,200 bucks and you change election laws through the COVID relief package.”

Trump recently called on Congress to approve a larger stimulus package, telling them repeatedly to “go big or go home.” He also said he supports the direct stimulus payments.

“So time will tell, and I think the president is right to want to go big, but it’s got to be big and smart,” he added.

It came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will vote this week on a smaller package.

“I just announced the Senate will vote next week on hundreds of billions more dollars for relief programs that Democrats do not even oppose,” he wrote on Twitter. The proposal also includes funding for schools, COVID-19 testing, and other provisions.

pelosi update
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) departs a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 8, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Another proposal scheduled for this week includes more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which expired in August.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told ABC News that in the midst of her discussions with the White House, she will now try to put more pressure on the administration to come up with an agreement.

“Where we have agreement, we don’t have agreement in the language yet, but I’m hopeful,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week” on Oct. 18. “The difference amounts to this, if you think of it this simple way: when you say ‘may,’ you’re giving the president a slush fund.

“He may do this, he may grant, he may withhold.”

Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Oct. 17 for more than an hour without reaching a deal. The last major stimulus package was the CARES Act, passed in March; House Democrats have approved two iterations of their HEROES Act, which were both denounced by White House officials and Republicans in Congress for including many provisions seemingly unrelated to the current economic crisis.

Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said there was progress in the talks toward a nationwide policy for testing and tracing, while addressing the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus impact on minority communities. A spokesperson for Mnuchin also confirmed the talks, saying the two parties would speak again on Oct. 19.