Democrats promised the American people that if we won both races in Georgia and took control of the Senate, we were going to pass a very popular COVID relief bill, including its most popular provision: $2,000 checks for the working people of this country.
Democrats won, and now it's time to deliver.
But, unfortunately, we have some Democrats in Congress who believe that we should first lower the annual income threshold for those eligible to receive the full benefit from $75,000 per individual and $150,000 per couple to $50,000 per individual and $100,000 per couple.
A lot of people have said they don't want rich people to get the full $2,000 benefit, and I agree. But to say to a worker from Vermont or California, or a single parent working 40 or 50 hours a week and making $60,000 a year in West Virginia that they are too rich to receive the full benefit during this time of economic crisis...it is absurd.
It is not just terrible policy, it is even worse politics.
Because if we water down this relief, we are telling working class people in this country that when Donald Trump was president they could get a full benefit if they made $75,000 per year, but now that Democrats are in power if they make $52,000 a year they are too rich for that benefit.
If Joe Biden and a Democratic-controlled Congress do not provide the full benefits that Donald Trump and the Republicans did, it would be a political and policy disaster. We have got to do what we promised to the American people and help working families who are struggling right now.
This is not just a question about helping the working people of this country during a time of crisis, this is a question about the future of the Democratic Party and whether we will show the middle class of this country that we are on their side.
Republicans pit people against each other. They try to divide us up based on race, gender and ethnicity in an attempt to appeal to working-class voters.
The way Democrats become the party of the working class is by fighting for social justice, economic justice, and by bringing people together.
But you do not bring people together when you say someone making $52,000 a year is too rich.
A recent national poll shows that there is overwhelming support for President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, and the vast majority of Americans are in favor of raising direct payments to $2,000. It is by far the most popular of the provisions in the plan.
I would like to congratulate the House Leadership and the Progressive Caucus for keeping the existing income thresholds. It is absurd to create an income eligibility cap that would mean 40 million Americans who got support under Trump wouldn't get checks under Biden.
We must act urgently to provide relief to working people. That is why today I am counting on you to make your voice heard on this important issue:
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