Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday clashed on Twitter over Markey’s proposal to send $2,000 monthly payments to every American for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Markey in May introduced a bill with Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders that would provide a $2,000 monthly payment to those making up to $100,000 per year during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the pandemic.

On Monday, Markey’s tweet appeared to go beyond that proposal, calling for the payments to go to “every person in our country” during the pandemic, for three months after and retroactively to March.

Cruz sarcastically responded to Markey about one hour later, retweeting Markey and noting sarcastically, “Why be so cheap?” “Give everyone $1 million a day, every day, forever. And three soy lattes a day. And a foot massage,” Cruz wrote. “We have a magic money tree — we should use it!”

Markey continued the exchange shortly after, telling Cruz that he didn’t think aid for families should be made a “joke.”

“It’s not a goddamn joke Ted,” the Massachusetts senator wrote. “Millions of families are facing hunger, the threat of eviction, and the loss of their health care during a pandemic that is worsening every day. Get real.”

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The social media back and forth comes as negotiations over the next coronavirus relief bill, which looked likely to include another round of direct payments to Americans.

President Trump on Saturday signed three memos and an executive order targeted at providing relief despite the gridlock in Congress, though direct payments were not included. Trump’s actions instead aimed to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, defer the payroll tax and provide relief on evictions and student loans.

 

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