Bernie Sanders to Push for Third Stimulus Check, Says $600 Second Round Not Enough

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has vowed to push for more COVID-19 relief in January, including a third round of stimulus checks, after insisting the latest agreement does "not go anywhere near far enough."

The fresh package includes $600 direct payments, but Sanders had pushed for another round of $1,200 checks.

"While including these payments ultimately improved this bill, given the enormous economic desperation that so many working families across this country are now experiencing, there is no question but that this legislation did not go far enough," he said in a statement.

"When President-elect Biden assumes office next month and when the Senate comes back into session in January, I will immediately begin fighting for another relief bill to help America's working families—including another round of direct payments and more relief for the unemployed, the hungry, the uninsured and those who owe back rent and are behind on mortgage payments."

Sanders had expressed his view that the $900 billion stimulus deal was too small before Congress voted.

"In this unprecedented crisis, it is imperative that we do everything we can to protect the working families of our country, the elderly, the children and the poor," his statement concluded.

Over the last few weeks, I have worked very hard to provide direct payments to working families across America.

While we did not get as much as we wanted, the average family of four will receive a direct payment of $2400.

In this horrific crisis, we must fight for more relief.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 22, 2020

He and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) had been major advocates in the Senate for larger payments.

Asked about the checks on CNN, Sanders said: "I wanted $1,200. We ended up with $600, which for a family of four, the average family of four, will be $2,400.

"Will that help? Yes, it will. Is it enough? No, it is not."

I wanted $1200 in direct payments. We got $600.

Will that help? Yes, it will.

Is it enough? No, it is not.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 22, 2020

He added: "This is a step forward, it is better than nothing, but it is nowhere near, in my view, where it should be going."

The Vermont senator's comments come as Democrat lawmakers also voiced their desire to push for more stimulus next year, welcoming the deal but suggesting more action would be needed down the line.

A joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), released after Congressional leaders agreed the deal, said: "The emergency relief in this agreement, the second largest in history only to the CARES Act, is an important first step that Democrats look forward to building on under the new Biden-Harris Administration to meet the remaining needs of the American people during this historic health and economic crisis."

Newsweek has contacted Sanders' office for further comment.

bernie sanders leaving U.S. Capitol
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wears a face mask while leaving the U.S. Capitol on December 11. He has described the latest stimulus package as a step forward, but not enough. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images