Bernie Sanders Says People Asking How to Survive, Pushes Mitch McConnell for $2,000 Vote

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has said people are concerned about how to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic—insisting the issue of boosting stimulus payments should be split from other points Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wants tying to it.

The independent Senator is a leading voice in the push for direct payments to be raised from $600 to $2,000, reiterating his calls for a Senate vote on the matter.

Lawmakers in the House passed a measure to this end but a vote on it in the upper chamber has so far been blocked. McConnell is looking to bring it forward but with other measures less palatable to many of its supporters attached.

These being a move to repeal Section 230 and also to fund investigations into voter fraud, both demands of President Donald Trump—who also supports the $2,000 checks.

"What must happen now in the Senate, what I'm fighting for, is to make sure that that clean bill, the bill that was passed in the House, comes to the Senate, we vote it up or down," Sanders told CNN, voicing his opinion it could pass should this happen.

Bring the $2,000 checks up for a vote, Mitch. That's what democracy is about. That's what the American people want.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 30, 2020

On the other issues attached by McConnell, he said: "We can separate those issues.

"Do we want to take a look at Section 230? It's an important issue, yes we should. There's a way to do that. Not now.

"How do we create elections so that everybody can find it more easily, more easily vote. Do away with voter suppression.

"There are issues out there, we can discuss it. But right now the issue on everybody's mind is, 'How do I survive? How do I feed my kids? How do I not get evicted?'"

He said therefore there must be a demand McConnell bring forward the same bill passed by the House to the floor.

"Bring it to the floor for a vote, Mitch," he said.

Sanders has previously suggested he will filibuster a vote on a defense bill in order to delay the Senate going home if a vote is not held on the check boost.

Other Senators could potentially join him in this move.

McConnell has faced criticism over his actions regarding the stimulus check boost, with suggestions his move will prevent this from passing.

With $2,000 payments in limbo, $600 amounts already agreed upon have started being sent out. Direct deposits began on Tuesday and checks were sent out starting Wednesday.

Newsweek has contacted McConnell's and Sanders' offices for further comment.

bernie sanders after speaking on senate floor
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) walks after speaking on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill on December 29, 2020 in Washington, D.C. He is continuing to push for stimulus checks to be boosted from $600 to $2,000 for those eligible to the maximum amount. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images