ON THE RECORD: Rep. Bustos hints at more stimulus relief from Biden administration, calls Trump’s Georgia phone call “absurd, probably criminal”

On The Record

WASHINGTON D.C. (WMBD) — For weeks, Congress debated whether to give Americans $600 or $2,000.

On Dec. 28, the House came together in a bipartisan way to pass a stimulus package including the $2,000 checks, but that came to a halt once it reached the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked an initial approval of the package, but then announced a new bill that did include the $2,000 checks along which would repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and create a commission to investigate voter fraud.

During this week’s segment of On the Record with Matt Sheehan, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) talked about how she supported the $2,000 checks and thinks more relief is on the way under a Biden presidency.

“We have now 350,000 Americans who have lost their lives, we have tens of millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with COVID,” Bustos said. “If you give $2,000 check to the vast majority of people who are going through heartache and pain, that’s spent immediately on rent, bills that are own, getting through Christmas debt, whatever it is, that’s going back into our economy. For the most part, that’s not going into people’s savings account.”

She ended her statement by saying, “I will favor that when President-elect Biden becomes President Biden as well.”

On Jan. 2, the Washington Post reported Trump had a phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger discussing Georgia’s vote tally in the Presidential election.

Trump said to Raffensperger, “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

“The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry,” the president said. “And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.”

CBS News reported President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia by 11,779 votes, and ballots cast in the state have been counted a total of three times, with Biden’s win affirmed each time. Raffensperger and his general counsel Ryan Germany, who was also on the call, repeatedly pushed back against Mr. Trump’s claims, with the secretary of state asserting the state’s election results were “accurate.”

“Mr. President, the challenge that you have is that the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger told the president.

The President has not officially responded to the reports of his phone call with Raffensperger, but he did attend a rally in Dalton, GA late Monday night.

Trump called for the crowds to get out and vote in the Georgia Senate runoff election, saying if they don’t, The U.S. Senate will switch parties entirely.

“The radical Democrats are trying to capture Georgia’s Senate seats, so they can wield unchecked, unrestrained, absolute power over every aspect of your lives,” Pres. Trump said. “They’re not taking this White House, we’re gonna fight like hell I’ll tell ya right now.”

Bustos said she had not yet listened to the entire hour-long call as of Monday morning, but called the call “absurd,” saying it’s “probably criminal.” She’s not the first Illinois Democrat to call for a criminal investigation into the phone call. Sen. Dick Durbin sent the following statement to WMBD-TV on Sunday.

“President Trump’s recorded conversation with Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger is more than a pathetic, rambling, delusional rant.  His disgraceful effort to intimidate an elected official into deliberately changing and misrepresenting the legally confirmed vote totals in his state strikes at the heart of our democracy and merits nothing less than a criminal investigation.  The President is unhinged and dangerous.  Those who encourage and support his conduct, including my Senate colleagues, are putting the orderly and peaceful transition of power in our nation at risk.” 

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

“It’s absolutely horrific that the President of the United States is asking the gentleman who oversees the election process in the State of Georgia to find him 11,780 votes. It’s absurd, it’s probably criminal,” Bustos said.

Bustos said Trump has a “pretty bad track record” with recorded audio conversations, citing his tape recording with the “leader of the Ukraine” and Access Hollywood.

“I think this is a true undermining of the greatest democracy in the history of the world, our elections are sacred. We’ve always been a model for the rest of the world in how we conduct our elections. He’s lost 60 lawsuits in what he’s filed since Election Day since he’s lost all of those court cases he’s trying to twist people’s arms to try and change the outcome.”

Monday morning, Trump tweeted, quoting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc. )to claims the President is trying to undermine the democratic process of elections.

“We are not acting to thwart the Democratic process, we are acting to protect it.” @SenRonJohnson

The President claims on Jan. 6 during the #StoptheSteal rally in Washington D.C. that America will “see the real numbers.”

Also in the segment, Bustos gave Central Illinois a glimpse of what she says a Biden presidency will look.

“I think what will happen almost immediately is there will be a national strategy to get this pandemic under control,” Bustos said, calling Biden’s plan to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days an “ambitious plan, but a needed one.”

Bustos believes President-elect Biden’s strategy on testing, treatment, and contact tracing will be more “aggressive” than we’ve seen so far.

She believes the Biden administration will tackle the pandemic from a health and financial standpoint, leading America into an economic recovery.

Bustos called Biden’s administration a “pandemic relief program.” She believes Biden’s phrase of “Build Back Better” will include the “most robust infrastructure plan” America has ever seen. That would include roads and bridges, locks and dams, rural broadband, rebuilding old schools, and looking at rural healthcare, Bustos said.

After Congress voted to override Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act, Bustos said service men and women will receive a 3% pay raise.

During the segment which aired Tuesday morning, Bustos said the president took issue with something she calls irrelevant to the bill instead of focusing on the bill itself.

“He has taken an issue he has beef with, that has nothing with the National Defense Authorization Act, and he tied it to that saying ‘I’m vetoing something that is so critically important for our nation’s safety and future because I don’t like the way internet companies are behaving.’ That’s literally his reason for vetoing this,” Bustos said.

Bustos said the President attempted to take away money from the Peoria Air National Guard to use for his wall at the Southern border.

The schedule for On the Record for the month of January is as follows below:

Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6:20 a.m. — Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza

Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 6:20 a.m. — State Rep. Tim Butler

Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 6:20 a.m. — Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs

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