Earlier this month, Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan—a massive $1.9 trillion package aimed at providing relief in the face of the pandemic that's killed over 500 thousand Americans.
The legislation provides stimulus checks for most Americans, paycheck protection programs, vaccine rollout funds, and a slew of other necessary provisions, but it received not a single Republican vote.
In fact, Republicans in both the House and Senate slammed the bill as a liberal "wish list" and chastised their Democratic colleagues for their supposed unwillingness to pursue a bipartisan bill. But though the bill is unpopular among Republican lawmakers, it's widely popular among American voters.
With President Joe Biden signing the bill into law on March 12, millions of Americans have begun receiving their $1400 stimulus checks, with households and those with children receiving additional monetary benefits as well.
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered a bill on Thursday that would protect these stimulus payments from predatory debt collectors—but Republicans saw it as an opportunity to get revenge.
When the Senators moved to pass the bill through unanimous consent, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) objected, ensuring a much lengthier process that almost defeats the purpose.
When the Senate passed the December wave of pandemic relief, the bill ensured protections of the $600 stimulus checks from debt collectors. Democrats tried to offer the same protections in the American Rescue Plan, but because they used the reconciliation process to bypass the filibuster, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that these protections weren't permissible.
Toomey blamed Democrats for the lack of protections, insisting that they should have sought a bill that could've gotten 60 votes in the Senate.
People weren't having it.
@SenToomey What on earth is wrong with you?! Do you have something against people who are struggling? Blocking this… https://t.co/B34jYSFavB— Jackie*🦋 (@Jackie*🦋) 1616283099.0
Dirtbag of the year https://t.co/etgH3bk1DL— John Sevigny (@John Sevigny) 1616275733.0
The GOP claims to be for the working class. Then, they put collection agencies over families during a global pande… https://t.co/qmxirbmrv6— PA Democratic Party (@PA Democratic Party) 1616265968.0
Why is everyone in the @SenateGOP so strange looking & just plain UGLY! 😷 https://t.co/9uJ7SjhfZe— Bernadette Coates (@Bernadette Coates) 1616248510.0
I was just in Aliquippa, in western PA yesterday volunteering with a food bank that has seen the need increase 59%.… https://t.co/hxaRZ1Ti0y— Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (@Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta) 1616247433.0
This is a particularly awful move by @SenToomey https://t.co/wfo7WGBGHs— Henceforth Known as Grogu 🏝 (@Henceforth Known as Grogu 🏝) 1616239298.0
Toomey announced last year that he wouldn't be seeking reelection in 2022—and his move to protect debt collectors had people grateful for that.
Glad you’re retiring, @SenToomey https://t.co/nXigEsRrkd— Straight Talker (@Straight Talker) 1616286003.0
Flip this senate seat blue in 2022, friends https://t.co/XuStU4HJkB— Erik Halvorsen (@Erik Halvorsen) 1616261835.0
OMG @SenToomey What is wrong with you? TG you are leaving the Senste. It’s just unfortunate US Taxpayers have to fu… https://t.co/TBIhRTGJ3p— Laura F T (@Laura F T) 1616260143.0
Toomey emphasized that many debt collectors had "valid legal claims" to people's emergency stimulus.