Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he disagrees with giving large direct payment checks to employed Americans because it is furthering socialist ideas and that instead, the payments should only go to those who are unemployed.
“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 told Fox News during a Wednesday interview, adding that those who are unemployed should be the focus of the stimulus checks.
Congress passed a $2.3 trillion spending package on Monday, which included $600 in direct payment checks to American workers.
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump said that Congress needs to pass a pandemic stimulus bill with larger direct payments of $2,000 to individual workers and threatened to veto the bill as is.
“Congress found plenty of money for foreign countries, lobbyists, and special interests,” Trump said on Tuesday night in a video released on his social media pages. “While sending the bare minimum to the American people who need it.”
The president contrasted the $600 payments to the hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for the Egyptian military, Cambodia, Sudan, Burma, “gender programs” in Pakistan, and numerous other countries.
Paul agreed with the president’s criticism of sending millions overseas while doing little here at home. “He was unhappy with all the spending to Pakistan and Sudan, and all these far-flung places when we aren’t taking care of our own,” Paul said.
“It’s what President Trump has always gotten right. It’s why President Trump got all these new blue-collar workers into our party, because they’re sick and tired of sending money, shoveling it overseas and they want it here at home,” continued Paul.
The Kentucky Senator said that helping those hardest hit by the pandemic or those who have lost their jobs was more fiscally sound than sending money overseas and giving checks to those still employed.
“We can’t build our own country because we’re too busy rebuilding everybody else’s. I think giving money to people who are already working, (like) 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.”
Paul complained that Republicans are just as irresponsible with overspending as Democrats. He said that handing out free money is not the solution to helping America recover and pushed for instead opening the economy and letting businesses and schools fully resume.
“They never take away wasteful spending, they only add more to it,” said Paul. “And the bottom line is the only way we recover as an economy is we got to open the economy up.”