Graham: Congress should go ‘big and smart’ on COVID-19 package

Sen. (R-S.C.) said that Congress should go “big and smart” on the next coronavirus relief package. 

During a pre-recorded interview on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren,” to air Sunday, Graham said that he thinks more money is needed, but not with certain policy provisions included in the House proposal. 

“The $2.2 trillion coming out of the House has a mandate for ballot harvesting. What’s that got to do COVID?” Graham said. “And the $1,200 payment, which I support, doesn’t require a Social Security number to get it, so a lot of the money would go to illegal immigrants.”

Graham said that everyone agrees on setting up a Paycheck Protection Program to allow small businesses to get a forgivable loan, and that there’s a lot of “common ground” on helping schools. He also said he was “willing to do some unemployment,” but not $600 per week. 

“There are some Republicans who don’t want to spend anymore,” Graham said. “I think we need more money, but we don’t need policy provisions like the House has.”  

Following his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment, issued a series of conflicting messages on Twitter about a coronavirus relief package, first canceling talks with congressional leadership and then finally telling the legislature to “go big or go home” on a price tag for the bill. 

Graham told Van Susteren that the president’s right to want a bigger package, “but it’s got to be big and smart.”

Graham has previously expressed support for another round of coronavirus aid.

Following Trump’s erratic series of tweets about the stimulus package earlier this month, the South Carolina senator called on the president to “look at the House Problem-Solvers bipartisan $1.5 trillion stimulus relief package” as a good place to start.

“Time to come together to help America deal with COVID as we move toward a vaccine,” Graham tweeted at the time. 

Passage of a stimulus package could bode well for Graham in his bid for reelection. 

The senator, a staunch Trump ally, is facing a competitive re-election bid against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. The Democrat raised $57 million in the third quarter this year, an all-time record for a U.S. Senate candidate. 

According to a recent New York Times/Siena College Poll, Graham is leading his opponent by 6 points in the race for the state’s senate seat, 1.5 points out of the survey’s margin of error. And earlier this month, the Cook Political Report moved the race from “lean Republican” to “toss up.” 

Trump’s top economic adviser said on Friday that he thinks Trump could get enough GOP senators to support an agreement struck by House Speaker (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnunchin if they’re able to land one before election day. 

“The president wants a deal. Secretary Mnuchin is negotiating a deal. If Speaker Pelosi wanted a deal, I think we could round up enough Senate Republicans to get a deal,” Kudlow told Fox Business’s Stuart Varney in a Friday interview.

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