Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talks during an interview with MSNBC in the Russell Rotunda in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talks during an interview with MSNBC in the Russell Rotunda in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

After Billionaires Gained $1 Trillion in Wealth, Says Sanders, It Is Not 'Radical' to Demand More $1,200 Stimulus Checks

"The American people cannot wait any longer. They need economic relief now."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday took to the Senate floor to once again make the case for sending another round of $1,200 stimulus checks to working-class Americans, denouncing as "unconscionable" the fact that U.S. billionaires have seen their wealth grow by $1 trillion during nine months of crisis while ordinary people have received just one direct payment from Congress.

"One trillion dollars for billionaires. One $1,200 check for the working class," said the Vermont senator. "That is immoral and that has got to change."

Following Sen. Josh Hawley's (R-Mo.) unsuccessful effort earlier Friday, Sanders requested unanimous consent to pass legislation that would provide $1,200 direct payments to U.S. adults and $500 to children, a relief proposal modeled after the stimulus checks provided under the CARES Act.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who objected to Hawley's unanimous consent request, once again spoke up to block Sanders' attempt to pass the direct payments, declaring that "we do not have an unlimited checking account"—a concern that did not stop him from voting to give massive tax breaks to the rich and large corporations in 2017.

In his floor speech, Sanders said providing another round of direct payments amid widespread and growing suffering "is not a radical idea," noting that President Donald Trump and an overwhelming majority of Americans across party lines support additional checks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), in remarks just ahead of Sanders', also endorsed the demand for $1,200 payments.

"The American people cannot wait any longer. They need economic relief now," said Sanders. "Every working class American needs $1,200—$2,400 for couples and $500 for kids."

Watch the full speech:

Sanders' latest push for direct payments came as congressional leaders continued to negotiate the final details of a $900 billion relief package that includes stimulus checks of $600 in addition to enhanced unemployment benefits, funds for vaccine distribution, and other programs.

With a government shutdown looming, the House and Senate late Friday passed a two-day spending bill to give lawmakers more time to complete a relief package and a sprawling year-end funding bill. The government will shut down Sunday night if Congress fails to act.

Sanders said on the Senate floor Friday that he "will object" to passage of an omnibus government funding bill if Congress does not also approve a coronavirus relief measure containing "substantial" direct payments.

"The truth is that the working families of this country today are probably in worse economic condition than at any time since the Great Depression," said Sanders. "Millions of people are unable to pay their rent and worried about being evicted. Hunger is literally at the highest level it has been in several decades, and in the midst of this terrible, terrible pandemic, we got tens of millions of people who cannot afford to go to a doctor. That is unacceptable."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Atrocious': Biden Renominates Chevron Lawyer First Chosen by Trump

Human rights attorney Steven Donziger noted that the president's pick for the federal bench "was paid millions... to help jail me, attack Indigenous peoples, and cover up a massive oil spill in the Amazon."

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders Backs Kroger Workers Striking Over 'Corporate Greed'

"It is time for Kroger to go back to the negotiating table and reach an agreement with the union," writes Sen. Bernie Sanders in a new letter to Kroger's millionaire CEO.

Jake Johnson ·


AOC Endorses Cisneros Primary Challenge Against Cuellar

"Cuellar, the last anti-choice 'Democrat' in the House," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "had a 70% voting record of siding with Donald Trump."

Jake Johnson ·


Dems to Biden: Overhaul Drone Program That Has Killed Thousands of Civilians

"In too many instances, U.S. drone strikes have instead led to unintended and deadly consequences—killing civilians and increasing anger towards the United States."

Brett Wilkins ·


War With Russia Over Ukraine 'Last Thing' US Needs, Say Progressives

Urging diplomacy over violence, foreign policy experts say "Biden's failure to acknowledge Russia's legitimate security concerns has led to the present impasse."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo