Sen. Pat Toomey on Sunday said he opposes sending payments of $2,000 to Americans — but urged President Trump to sign the coronavirus relief bill passed last week by Congress after months of negotiations.
“You don’t get everything you want, even if you’re president of the United States,” the Pennsylvania Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think the COVID relief measures are really, really important.”
Trump has not signed the $900 billion coronavirus bill because, calling on Congress to amend it to increase the payments to eligible Americans from $600 to $2,000.
Toomey advised the president to sign the bill and ensure much-needed assistance begins to arrive for the millions of Americans out of work, and then renegotiate the payments.
“I understand the president would like to send bigger checks to everybody. I think what he ought to do is sign this bill and then make the case,” Toomey said. “Congress can pass another bill.”
“I don’t agree with $2,000 to people who have had no lost income whatsoever, which is the vast majority of Americans, but the president’s free to make that case,” Toomey added.
“But we have a bill right now that his administration helped negotiate, so we ought to get that done,” he said.
The relief bill was paired with a $1.4 trillion spending legislation that is intended to keep the government operating until September.
Without Trump’s signature, the government will shut down shortly after midnight Tuesday.
Unemployment benefits lapsed Saturday night for the millions of jobless Americans, and eviction protections will expire on Thursday.
The senator said it’s a “hopeful sign” that Trump hasn’t already vetoed the bill, but warned that his legacy could take a significant hit if millions of Americans continue to suffer.
“But the danger is he’ll be remembered for chaos and misery and erratic behavior if he allows this to expire,” he said.
Asked about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduling a vote Monday on the $2,000 checks, Toomey said Republicans should oppose the effort because the payments aren’t “targeted.”
“Why would we be sending $2,000 to people with a six-figure income who have had no suspension, no reduction, of their income at all?” he said.
“This money isn’t sitting on a shelf. We’re going to print it or we’re going to borrow it. I think that the aid should be much, much more targeted. It should be targeted to people who have actually lost their job,” Toomey said.