Sen. Cruz attempts to block $8 billion in stimulus payments to illegal immigrants – gets rejected as bill passes

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WASHINGTON, DC – Democrats blocked an attempt by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to amend the Senate version of the COVID relief package to prevent illegal aliens from receiving stimulus checks.

The Senate passed the $1.9 trillion package today in a 50-49 party-line vote.

Sen. Cruz proposed the amendment to block $1,400 checks from going to illegal aliens living in the United States, a move that Cruz said would save taxpayers nearly $8 Billion:

“Not only does this COVID bill fail to address the real needs of the American people who are suffering, but it hands out billions in taxpayer dollars to illegal immigrants.

“Congress should come together to pass my amendment to stop this. We need to stand for the American people, get our kids back to school, and reopen our small businesses.”

Introducing the amendment for consideration, Cruz said:

“This amendment before us today provides that the stimulus checks should not go to illegal aliens in this country. The question for the American people to answer is, should your money, should taxpayer money, be sent, $1,400, to every illegal alien in America?”

Cruz was accused of exaggerating the payments to illegal aliens by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Il), who said the Democrats’ relief package handles payments to undocumented immigrants the same way the Republican stimulus bill did that passed in December:

“The statement of the senator from Texas is just plain false. False! Let me be clear: Undocumented immigrants do not have Social Security numbers, and they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks.

They want to be able to give speeches that say the checks go to undocumented people. (Cruz is trying to) rile people up over something that is not true.”

A similar package designed to bar illegal immigrants from receiving stimulus payments was introduced by Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Tom Cotton (R-AK) last month during debate on the package.

Eight Democrats voted in favor of the measure at the time, but not enough crossed lines for the package to pass.

The eight senators who crossed lines to vote for the Young/Cotton bill were Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

Democrats held the party line, and none voted in favor of Cruz’s amendment.

Now that the Senate has passed the massive relief bill, the package will be moved back to the House for reconsideration. The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the bill Tuesday and send it to President Biden for his signature.

Congress is rushing to get the controversial package through before March 14, when existing unemployment protections expire.

The package passed by the Senate,delivers a new round of pandemic economic payments to Americans struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the package are the $1,400 direct payments, an extension of unemployment benefits, and an increase to the child tax credit.

Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 would receive the full direct payments of $1,400 per person. But those payments would phase out for individuals and couples who make more than $80,000 and $160,000, respectively.

The package struggled for a while in debate after moderate Democrats demanded the income threshold for benefits be lowered. After a 24-hour marathon of debate and deal-making, the package settled with compromise levels.

Federal unemployment benefits would be extended through Sept. 6 at the current rate of $300 per week and the first $10,200 of those benefits would be tax-free for households that earn $150,000 or less.

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Government waste watchdog: Dead people will get checks under Democrats $1.9 trillion ‘stimulus’

February 8, 2021

 

WASHINGTON, DC- On December 27, 2020, Congress approved a $900 billion “stimulus” package which was signed into law by former President Trump.

More recently, Congress, through the undemocratic process called “reconciliation” passed an additional $1.9 trillion package.

Add that to the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the government has approved $5 trillion in COVID-19 relief. Oh, this will end well.

Remember this when a gallon of milk costs $10 a gallon.

According to Citizens Against Government Waste, the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported in June 2020 that over 160 million economic impact payments had been made totaling around $2.6 trillion from government agencies, by both the IRS and the Department of the Treasury.

One little problem…the GAO noted that according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, nearly 1.1 million payments totaling $1.4 billion had been paid out to DEAD people.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) issued a report on their WasteWatcher Blog on August 14, 2020 in which they said that “after the GAO recommended that the IRS use the Master Death File to update its records and avoid improper payments, the agency failed to use this seven-year-old system to make sure the stimulus checks did not go to deceased individuals.”

As Biden gets ready to dole out a portion of the $1.9 trillion in aid once again to the American people, the problem has apparently not been resolved.

On January 11, 2021, the IRS issued a statement regarding the additional $600 payments under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, stating:

“Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed, or is no longer active, or unfamiliar”

CAGW noted that the continuing problems with sending checks to dead people could have been avoided. On June 30, 2020, the Senate passed S. 4104, the aptly-named Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act.

Under that legislation, the Social Security Administration would be allowed “to share its full file of death information (including State death data) with the Department of Treasury for the purposes of operating its Do Not Pay (DNP) working system and administering its Economic Income Payments (EIPs).”

The legislation would “allow the SSA to provide its complete death information to federal and state agencies that provide benefits funded by the federal government,” CAGW said.

According to Tom Schatz, president of CAGW, “[T]he problem that caused the money to go to these people last time has not been fixed, and it’s a relatively simple fix.

The Social Security Administration has what’s called the master death file. It is not shared with the Internal Revenue Service, it is shared with other agencies, but not the one where you would really want it to be shared, which is the IRS.”

However, the House, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) failed to take up the Senate bill, which means that improper payments will continue to be made by the Treasury and other federal agencies not only to deceased people, but also others who are ineligible to receive such payments.

CAGW is calling on Biden to urge Congress to pass S. 4104 in order to give the American people some confidence that billions more in COVID-19 economic impact payments, as well as other programs are not given to deceased individuals.

Schatz explained to John Solomon’s Just The News that the payments are based on previously filed tax returns.

“So if somebody paid taxes two years ago, or last year, and has now passed away, that check is going to show up,” he said.

“And of course, there’s fraud related to that as well, people keeping the names of their deceased relatives or parents or siblings and just collecting checks, and they would qualify too, unfortunately.”

The issue is nothing new. Schatz said that going all the way back to 2009, nearly 90,000 erroneous stimulus payments were sent either to incarcerated or dead people at the time.

“It’s not just the stimulus checks, it’s other payments that go to people who are deceased, because again, they don’t have a complete and full accounting of information not just at the federal level, but sometimes states have information that doesn’t get up to the federal level about people who have passed away as well,” he said. It’s a matter of management—mismanagement really.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is an organization designed to “eliminate waste, mismanagement and inefficiency in government.” 

 

 

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