DES MOINES — A day after President Donald Trump called the $600 stimulus checks approved by Congress “ridiculously low,” Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday it isn’t plausible to increase them more than threefold to the level the president wants.
“I don’t think it is feasible because we are in a situation where we’re giving money to people who haven’t lost their jobs and things, and I think if we do any more it needs to be more targeted to those in need,” Grassley said during an interview with Iowa broadcasters.
“I hope the president will sign the bill or let it go into law without his signature. But, also, if more can be done, well we’re told after the new president is sworn in — and it probably will be (Joe) Biden — then we’re going to have another debate like this anyway,” added Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
“So, whether it’s in December or February, it probably doesn’t make much difference. But I would think and I would hope Democrats think that it needs to be targeted towards people that are hurting more than people who have never lost a job,” he said.
Grassley, who said he is back at his Iowa farm after voting on a continuing resolution to keep the federal government operating and the COVID-19 relief package, touted elements of the aid that would benefit farmers he said were passed over in the previous stimulus package earlier this year.
The bill contains Paycheck Protection Program assistance that is expanded to small farmers to continue operating and paying their employees, and offers up to $13 billion in funding that directly benefits agriculture, he said.
“The pandemic has taken quite a toll on farmers across Iowa and I’m confident that the work completed in this latest bill will allow farmers to recover and set them up for a successful year in 2021,” he said.
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In a video posted Tuesday night to Twitter, Trump called on Congress to increase the “ridiculously low” $600 direct payments to millions of Americans to $2,000, and outlined a list of provisions in the overall package of legislation he described as “wasteful spending and much more.” He did not directly say he’d veto the bill, nor mention that the $600 check idea came from his own administration.
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