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Day After GOP Senator Blocked Direct Payments Twice, Poll Shows 88% of Likely Voters Support More $1,200 Checks

"Maybe—just maybe—it's time Congress listened to the American people," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Protesters rally demanding economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic at Time Square on August 5, 2020 in New York City.

Protesters rally demanding economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic at Time Square on August 5, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

Survey results released Saturday show that 88% of likely voters say they would support Congress sending out another round of one-time $1,200 direct payments, data that came a day after Republican Sen. Ron Johnson twice blocked passage of a bill to provide such relief to working-class Americans.

Conducted by progressive think tank Data for Progress, the poll (pdf) finds that 93% of Democrats, 83% of Republicans, and 87% of likely independent/third party voters would support the distribution of "another one-time payment of $1,200 to most Americans as a coronavirus relief measure." Just 9% of likely voters say they are opposed to another round of $1,200 direct payments.

"At this point, we should all wonder what it would take for members of Congress to listen to their constituents and support this. I support it, call your member to find out if they do too."
—Rep. Ilhan Omar

"At this point, we should all wonder what it would take for members of Congress to listen to their constituents and support this," Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted in response to the new survey. "I support it, call your member to find out if they do too."

On Friday, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) attempted to obtain unanimous consent to pass legislation that would provide direct payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child, with eligibility modeled on the CARES Act.

Sanders and Hawley were both rebuffed by Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who complained about the impact the direct payments and other coronavirus relief spending would have on the budget deficit.

On the Senate floor Friday, Sanders called out Johnson for objecting to direct relief payments but not President Donald Trump's tax cuts, which blew a massive hole in the deficit for the benefit of wealthy Americans.

"The senator from Wisconsin talks about the deficit. Yet the senator from Wisconsin voted for over $1 trillion in tax breaks for billionaires and large, profitable corporations. That's OK," said Sanders. "The senator from Wisconsin voted for a bloated military budget, $740 billion. That's OK. The senator from Wisconsin supports hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare."

In a tweet Saturday following the release of the Data for Progress survey, Sanders wrote, "Maybe—just maybe—it's time Congress listened to the American people and sent $1,200 survival checks to working-class Americans who are in so much desperation right now."

The poll confirming widespread support for $1,200 direct relief payments among the U.S. public came as Congress continued negotiating the final details of a nearly $1 trillion coronavirus aid package that includes direct payments of $600, an amount Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) called an "insult" to Americans who are struggling to afford food, housing, and other basic necessities.

"Our families deserve real survival checks. Six hundred dollars is hardly sufficient," Pressley said in a speech on the House floor Thursday. "We must act to save lives now."

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