Americans Getting $1,400 Stimulus Checks Don't Care About GOP Support, Bernie Sanders Says

Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders said Americans who will receive $1,400 checks from President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan don't care if GOP lawmakers supported it—they're just desperate for help amid the pandemic.

On Saturday, Sanders reiterated his belief that he and Democratic legislators will continue to "rebuild our economy, get our kids back to school" with or without Republican support. Not a single Republican senator or member of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the COVID-19 relief package last week.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is "the most consequential piece of legislation for working families passed in many, many decades," he told National Public Radio (NPR).

"You know, at the end of the day, with half of our people living paycheck to paycheck, when millions of people are working for starvation wages, people facing eviction, some of us believed that getting a direct payment out to working families—family of four gets $5,600—that was important," Sanders said when asked if there was anything included in the massive bill that he would have preferred to remove.

"And when the American people get those $1,400 checks, they're not going to be sitting around saying, 'Oh, my goodness, this is not good, we didn't have any Republican support.' I think they're going to be understanding that finally, that the United States Congress, the president, are beginning to respond to their needs," Sanders said, stressing that partisan bickering should take a back seat to immediate pandemic needs.

Sanders, who is chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee, has for weeks said he is open to working alongside Republicans in a bipartisan manner. But he and several other Democratic leaders in Washington say the GOP has no interest in working together and Democrats will continue to push relief through in a "very aggressive way."

NPR host Scott Simon pressed Sanders on the party-line vote, which passed the stimulus relief package, and whether future bipartisanship will be needed on "looming" issues such as immigration.

"The American Rescue Plan didn't get any Republican votes. Does that portend anything for you with so many issues coming up in the Congress where some bipartisan amity might be a good idea?" Simon asked.

"Well, I think everybody wants bipartisanship. But what is most important is that at a time when this country is facing unprecedented health crises, economic crises, educational crises, mental health crises, we've got to move and if the choice is doing it without Republican support and moving aggressively or spending, you know, month after month after month debating and discussing and not doing anything—to me the choice is pretty clear: we do it," Sanders said.

Newsweek reached out to Sanders' office as well as the White House for additional remarks Saturday afternoon.

Progressive lawmakers
Progressives in Congress are pushing to keep an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 package. In this photo, progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (i-Vermont) speaks as Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) stand beside him outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on June 24, 2019 SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty