Stimulus: Why One Arkansas Senator Wants to Withhold Payments From Certain States and Cities

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has spoken out about his proposed legislation to limit or outright withhold federal stimulus payments to specific states and cities. Appearing on Hannity Tuesday night, the Republican argued that the funds shouldn't be handed over to states that consider themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants.

"We shouldn't be spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on illegal immigrants at a time when 35 million Americans are out of work," Cotton said, via Fox News. "If we are going to be giving relief checks to those people who are out of work, we need to focus on American citizens, not illegal immigrants." Host Sean Hannity agreed before citing states like New York, Illinois, New Jersey and California that have "some of the highest state income taxes in the entire country." The host went on to argue that these states are "trying to get people like yourself and people in red states that elect responsible politicians that don't tax and spend to death to bail them out," claiming it means "bailout their stupidity."

Cotton's legislature, which is dubbed the No Bailouts for Illegal Aliens Act, asserts that states or cities must be able to certify the fact that illegal aliens won't be on the receiving end of coronavirus stimulus checks or other such payments. Those that refuse to comply with the requirements won't be able to receive funds from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was passed back in March.

Worth noting that the current round of CARES Act-funded stimulus payments excludes not only immigrants but also the spouses of immigrants, even in they're U.S. citizens themselves. Both President Donald Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are being sued over the matter.

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The Senator also spoke out against China, referring to them as the country "that unleashed this pandemic on the world" in relation to the large amount of drug manufacturing that takes place there. "That does have to stop," Cotton added. "I've got legislation that would give incentives to build more manufacturing capacity right here in the United States and ultimately ban the import of pharmaceuticals from China, many of which are adulterated to begin with."

While The CARES Act has language to exclude immigrants from receiving stimulus funds, a second stimulus bill proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would afford its one-time payments to the undocumented. The bill, named The Heroes Act, was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday. Though due to mixed messages from Trump on the matter, it's unclear if it will be passed into law.