After months of fruitless negotiation, Congress passed another wave of relief in the face of the pandemic that's killed over 300 thousand Americans and upended daily life in the United States.
Though Democrats in the House passed multiple stimulus packages with greater relief for working Americans—such as the Heroes Act—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to consider them.
The relief package agreed to by Republicans includes only $600 stimulus checks for Americans making under $75 thousand per year. This is half as much as the stimulus checks included in the CARES Act, which was signed into law at the end of March of this year.
The $600 sum is seen as largely insufficient for Americans who've been wrangling with unemployment, lack of childcare, reduced business, and other pandemic-induced obstacles.
On the Senate floor, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) railed against the idea of giving taxpayer money to taxpayers.
"If free money were the answer, if money really grew on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000?"
The Senator's opposition to relief for working Americans was largely congruent with his past positions on the threat posed by the pandemic, considering he railed against safety measures to slow the spread of the virus and floated outright false ideas that herd immunity was an effective way to destroy the virus.
Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), a staunch advocate for greater and additional direct payments, responded to Paul's comments with receipts.
Sanders reminded his followers of Paul's support for the 2017 tax bill, which the Congressional Budget Office predicted would add around $1 trillion to the deficit within a decade. Paul wrote an op-ed in support of the bill and voted for its passage.
But when it came time to extend benefits for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund until 2090, Paul voiced opposition, saying, ""It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in this country."
This hypocrisy showed its face again in Paul's opposition to direct relief.
Prompted by Sanders, people didn't hesitate to call out the Senator and the GOP.
Though Paul claimed these relief payments amounted to giving people free money, Twitter users pointed out that this money was supplied by American taxpayers, who paid into a system intended to keep them safe and secure.
Outgoing President Donald Trump has not yet signed the legislation.