A group of Republican Senators, which included Ted Cruz from Texas, Tom Cotton from Arkansas, and Bill Cassidy from Louisiana, proposed an amendment to the Biden’s coronavirus relief package that excluded prisoners and illegal immigrants from the stimulus check support.
The support involves the U.S. $1,400 stimulus checks for each person earning less than the U.S. $75,000 per year.
As most of them belong to this category, illegal immigrants and prison inmates are also eligible for the support, as much as they were under two packages provided last year.
The Republican amendment was rejected with a 49–50 majority by the Senate.
The vote mainly came as a result of the Democratic unity about the issue.
According to reports, even Democratic Senators who voted for similar amendments earlier this year rejected the new proposal. To appease the opponents, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois tried to explain that illegal immigrants would not receive payments as they do not possess Social Security numbers.
Yet, some Republicans believe that many illegal immigrants would not disqualify from the financial support.
They mostly have in mind those who obtained Social Security numbers via their authorized work visa arrangements they breached by overstaying.
Remembering the criminals
In response to the amendment rejection, Senator Cotton reminded the audience of some of the worst criminals who are about to receive financial support from the government.
Cotton mentioned Dylann Roof, a South Carolina man facing the death penalty for murdering nine people, Dzokhar Tsarnaev, a terrorist who murdered three people and injured hundreds of others during the 2013 Boston marathon, and Aaron Shamo, the head of dark-web organization involved in opioid drug selling who was sentenced to life in prison.
Moreover, the three Republican Senators issued their separate statements following the amendment rejection.
Senator Cruz said that the irresponsibility of the relief package is revealed by its support for incarcerated criminals who were not in any way hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He expressed his satisfaction in joining his colleagues in an attempt to modify the bill.
Senator Cotton showed his regrets by emphasizing that the package should aim at workers hit by the pandemic instead of prisoners who serve their debt.
Along similar lines, Senator Cassidy described the stimulus plan as wasteful spending that will provide money to inmates who are exempt from taxes and incapable of contributing to the economy.