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GOP Sen. Rubio to Biden: Give everyone $2,000 on first day in office

“It would send a powerful message to the American people" – former GOP presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio

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Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio
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Updated: January 13, 2021 - 2:06pm

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Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is urging president-elect Joe Biden to call for $2,000 payments to Americans on his first day in office.

The Democrat-controlled House last month approved a bill to provide millions of Americans struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic with $2,000, but the Republican-controlled Senate shot down the bill. Soon, though, Democrats will control both chambers, making passage far more likely.

“It would send a powerful message to the American people if, on the first day of your presidency, you called on the House and Senate to send you legislation to increase the direct economic impact payments to Americans struggling due to the pandemic from $600 to $2,000," Rubio said in a letter to Biden, first obtained by Axios.

Rubio said that Republicans should not seek to add extraneous items to a COVID-19 relief bill, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did last time.

“All too often, popular and necessary legislation is used as leverage to secure passage for policies that cannot pass on their own merit,” Rubio wrote. “We have already seen it in the midst of the pandemic when additional funding for small businesses was blocked repeatedly for months on end. Please do not allow direct payments to the American people to get caught up in the normal political games by adding a wish list of far left or other unrelated priorities to this legislation.”

Rubio said he won't always agree with Biden, a Democrat, but said both parties should put aside political differences to support hard-hit Americans.

“Although I will disagree with your administration frequently over the next four years, I am committed to working in good faith to advance critically important and effective policies on behalf of the people of this great nation,” the letter says. “True recovery — economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually — will take time, and it will require creativity that spans beyond the typical partisan divides in Washington."

And Rubio said Biden is in the unique position to help heal political wounds and move past gridlock. "We do not need partisan stunts, more show votes, or cynical ploys. You have the ability to help break the paralysis in Washington by delivering desperately needed relief. I implore you to rise above the rhetoric and deliver an increase in assistance for American families.”

On Dec. 28, the House voted 275-134 vote, with 44 Republicans voting in favor, to a bill to provide $2,000 to Americans. Americans making up to $75,000 would receive direct payments of $2,000 — an increase from the $600 checks in the coronavirus relief package approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Trump.

McConnell didn't call that bill up for a vote, but instead offered his own calling for the repeal of Section 230, which grants liability protection to social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter, and the creation of a Election Assistance Commission, a congressional committee to investigate the integrity of U.S. elections. That bill never got a vote, either.