'Sign the bill, Mr. President,' then we can pass $2,000 payments: Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders is interviewed on "This Week."
6:55 | 12/27/20

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Transcript for 'Sign the bill, Mr. President,' then we can pass $2,000 payments: Sanders
Let's bring in senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Senator Sanders, you've been pushing for relief checks, direct payments to Americans for a long time. Now the president is issuing a sort of veto threat. Not saying whether or not he will sign the bill. What's next? What's going to happen? Is this bill going to be signed into law? Jonathan, what the president is doing right now is lilievably cruel. Many millions of people are losing their extended unemployment benefits. They're going to be evicted from their apartments because the eviction moratorium is ending. We're looking to get the vaccines distributed to tens of millions of people. There's money in this bill. This president is diddling around and he may actually veto given the terrible economic crisis facing this country, yes, we need $2,000 out to every working class individual in this country, 500 bucks for their kid. You can't diddle around with the bill. Sign the bill, Mr. President, and immediately, Monday, Tuesday, we can pass a $2,000 direct payment to the working families in this count The president came up with this out of the blue. The white house suggested that he was going to sign it as soon as it hit his desk. You have been proposing $2,000 payments -- you wanted monthly payments for months, since the spring. Then you finally got republic Josh holly to join you in the effort of a larger payment. During all that time of lobbying from this, did you hear from the white house? Not a word. Did they join you in pushing this? Not a word. Everybody assumed that mnuchin was representing the white house. I talked to mnuchin is couple weeks ago. That was the assumption that everybody had. Suddenly because we have an extraordinary narcissist, ogically narcissist in theite house, he said I know there were intense negotiations. You passed a $908 billion bill. It has extending unemployment and this, that and everything else, but you know what, I decided I'll jump into the game and I want $2,000. I want $2,000. The American people want $2,000. They need it given the economic crisis. What we need to do is have the president sign that bill today, right now, or else the suffering in this country will be immense and then we can immediately deal with the $2,000. We don't know what the guy is going to do. What happens if the president does not sign this bill? Jonathan, look, we are dealing with an unprecedented moment in American history. So many people are hurting. We're looking at millions of people who may be evicted from their homes. We're looking at the highest level of hunger in the modern history of the United States. In the midst of this terrible pandemic hospitals are being overwhelmed. You have 90 million people with no health insurance or they're underinsured. They can't get to a doctor on time. We want to get to the vaccine out to hundreds of millions of people as quickly as possible. Money is in this bill to do that. If he does not sign this bill -- by the way, the government may shut down because this was a combination of a covid bill, plus an omnibus bill which keeps the government running. You won't have all the protections the working people need. On top of that you may be looking at a government shutdown. It's insane. It is really insane. This president has got to finally do the right thing for the American people and stop worrying about his ego. It's a $900 billion bill. The administration had proposed a $1.8 trillion bill and Democrats wouldn't move on it. Was that a mistake in hindsight? Should Democrats have taken them up on the offer of a $1.8 trillion relief bill? All I can tell you, Jonathan, given the enormity of the problems we're facing, $900 billion is not enough. We should have been talking about double that, maybe more. You recall that the C.A.R.E.S. Package that passed in March was $2.2 trillion. It was $600 supplementary on top of that it was $1,200 direct payment, significant help for states and localities who desperately need that help, money for hospitals and schools. That's what we should be talking about. Let us be clear. At this moment working families are suffering more economic hardship at any time since the great depression. We should be responding to that need. I think that President-Elect Joe Biden understands that reality. If we can get through to the trump administration without doing terrible harm to the American people, I suspect one of the first items on the Biden agenda will be following up on what we're doing here providing that assistance. Seems like a safe bet. Let me ask you about the emerging Biden cabinet. Is it Progressive enough? What I have said many times is the Progressive movement itself probably is 35 or 40% of the democratic coalition. I believe that the Progressive movement deserves seats in the cabinet. That has not yet happened. I would like to see strong Progressives in the administration who are going to stand up for the working families in this country, who believe that health care is a human right, who believe we've got to make sure that public colleges and universities are tuition free and we have to be aggressive on issues like climate change, racial justice and immigration reform. We've heard on attorney general, the last nomination, the major nomination yet to be we've heard Sally Yates, Doug Jones, Merrick Garland for attorney general. Would Merrick Garland be Progressive enough for you? I don't know Mr. Garland very well. I think we could have a stronger Progressive than him. I'm not going to comment on Biden's appointments. Senator Sanders, thank you for joining us. Thank you. Happy new year. Happy new year to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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