Sen. Bernie Sanders: Sitting on relief bill is 'unbelievably cruel'

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Sen. Bernard Sanders said Sunday that he wants $2,000 checks for every working American, but President Trump’s decision to sit on the existing coronavirus relief bill is “unbelievably cruel.”

“Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They’re going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending,” Mr. Sanders, Vermont  independent, told ABC’s “This Week.” “We are looking at a way to get the vaccine distributed to tens of millions of people. There’s money in that bill. This president is diddling around and he may actually veto it.”

The compromise bill that Congress passed last week to provide virus relief and fund the government contains $600 stimulus checks.

Mr. Sanders said he supports Mr. Trump’s after-the-fact demand for $2,000 checks but it makes no sense to hold up the whole package.

“You can’t diddle around with the bill. Sign the bill, Mr. President, and then immediately — Monday, Tuesday — we can pass a $2,000 direct payment to the working families of this country,” Mr. Sanders said.

Mr. Sanders, a hero to the progressive left, joined the chorus of lawmakers who say they were blindsided by Mr. Trump’s late demand, saying the administration’s emissary to Capitol Hill — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — never demanded it during negotiations.

“Everybody assumed that Mnuchin was representing the White House,” Mr. Sanders said. “That was the assumption that everybody had.”

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