Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) suggested on Monday that he would oppose the bid to increase the pandemic relief checks from the current $600 to $2,000, which President Donald Trump and others have called for.
The Alabama Republican, in remarks to “Fox and Friends,” expressed concern about funding the more generous direct payments to American families, presumably out of concern for the size of the public debt, which in 2020 has ballooned to around $27 trillion.
“It’s money we don’t have, we have to borrow to get and we can’t afford to pay back,” Brooks told the outlet. ”Someone’s got to show me how we’re going to pay for it. How far before we all go into debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy?”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also expressed concerns about how the stimulus payments would be funded.
“If we went to $2,000 per person, the additional borrowing would be up to almost $500 billion,” Romney said, according to KUTV. “Someone’s got to pay for that. We can’t just have free money.”
President Donald Trump signed on Sunday evening the $2.3 trillion funding measure that includes $1.4 trillion for government funding through next September and $900 billion for pandemic relief. The president’s signing of the bill came after a delay due to Congress’s failure to meet Trump’s demand to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person. Trump had repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction over what he described as “wasteful” spending in the bill while Americans continue to struggle due to pandemic lockdowns.
“I am signing this bill to restore unemployment benefits, stop evictions, provide rental assistance, add money for PPP [Payment Protection Program], return our airline workers back to work, add substantially more money for vaccine distribution, and much more,” Trump said in a statement.
He added that “more money is coming” and vowed to “never give up” his fight for the American people.
The Democrat-led House supports the larger checks and is poised to vote on the issue on Monday, but it’s unclear whether the measure will be supported by Republicans in the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Trump should call on GOP members of Congress to “immediately” stop an “obstruction” to the $2,000 stimulus payments he has called for. If Republicans in the Senate reject the bid to increase the size of the relief checks, the administration can only begin work to send out the $600 direct payments.
“Now, the President must immediately call on Congressional Republicans to end their obstruction and to join him and Democrats in support of our stand-alone legislation to increase direct payment checks to $2,000, which will be brought to the Floor tomorrow,” Pelosi wrote in a statement. “Every Republican vote against this bill is a vote to deny the financial hardship that families face and to deny the American people the relief they need.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also sought to drum up support for the larger relief measure.
“The House will pass a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks. Then I will move to pass it in the Senate,” Schumer wrote in a tweet. “No Democrats will object. Will Senate Republicans?”
In the same interview on “Fox and Friends,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said she was open to the proposal of $2,000 checks.
“Many Americans are in dire need of relief,” she said.