Tom Cotton slams Covid-19 relief bill, says prisoners like Dylann Roof will also get $1,400 stimulus check

The Arkansas lawmaker said people like Dylann Roof and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, found involved in killing people, will also get the checks and criticized the Dems' bill as 'partisan slush fund'

                            Tom Cotton slams Covid-19 relief bill, says prisoners like Dylann Roof will also get $1,400 stimulus check
Sen Tom Cotton said prisoners like Dylann Roof, Dzokhar Tsarnaev and Aaron Shamo will also receive the relief checks (Getty Images)

Arkansas GOP Senator Tom Cotton has led his party to criticize the Democrats for rushing the Covid-19 relief bill through the Congress saying tainted people like Dylann Roof, Dzokhar Tsarnaev and Aaron Shamo will also receive the relief checks that were approved on Saturday, March 6, as part of the package worth $1.9 trillion. 

The Senate passed the package as the Democrats hurried to send out to the people a fresh round of aid. The House, which is dominated by the Dems, aims to pass the bill on Tuesday, March 10 and send it for the presidential assent-- four days ahead of the March 14 deadline -- to renew unemployment aid programs. The upper chamber approved the plan in a close 50-49 party line vote as the Republicans questioned the justification of another big relief package. While some GOP voices and economists criticized the need for the relief plan at a time when the pace for vaccination has picked up in the US, the Democrats said they needed decisive action to avoid a sluggish economic recovery and future trouble. 


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Those Americans who earn less than $75,000 are eligible for the payments, including the inmate population numbering around 1.4 million. The inmates were also paid two previous stimulus checks of $1,200 and $600.

Cotton, who voted against the bill put forward by the opposition party on March 6 had backed each of the bills under the former Donald Trump administration that sent the other checks to the inmates. The Republican members of the Senate were quick to slam the relief package as soon as it was passed with the group calling it a “wishlist partisan” and that the people of America “deserve better”. President Joe Biden differed by saying in a video on March 6 that the package puts the US “back on the road to recovery”. 

Cotton,43, who is serving since 2015, posted a series of tweets slamming the bill. “Senate Democrats just voted to give stimulus checks to criminals in prison. They haven’t lost their jobs, they aren’t worried about paying rent or buying groceries. Another example of the unrelated spending in the Democrats’ partisan slush fund,” he said in one tweet. 



He also cited a number of individuals whose names have been found involved with murder and drug trafficking. “Dylann Roof murdered nine people. He’s on federal death row. He'll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘COVID relief’ bill,” Cotton tweeted. In June 2015, Roof, aged 26 then, is a White supremacist and neo-Nazi who killed nine people in a mass shooting in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. 



“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber, murdered three people and terrorized a city. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘COVID relief’ bill,” the senator said in another tweet. Dzhokhar, along with his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, planted pressure-cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon in 2013 that set off explosions killing three and injuring several. Dzhokhar was only 20 at the time.  



Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in an image released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 19, 2013 (Getty Images)

Cotton also tweeted about Shamo saying: “Aaron Shamo was sentenced to life in prison for selling "1 million fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills to unsuspecting buyers. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check while in prison from the Democrats’ “COVID relief” bill.”



Shamo, the CEO of a vast dark net drug trafficking organization that handed out more than a half million counterfeit pills throughout the country, was given a life sentence in October last year. 

Senator Cassidy calls bill 'ridiculous'

Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy also expressed his disappointment over the matter saying it is “ridiculous” that the prison inmates will receive the checks through the bill when they can make no contribution to stimulate the economy. “Prisoners do not pay taxes. Taxpayers pay for their every need. Inmates cannot stimulate the economy. This is a perfect example of nontargeted, inappropriate, and total waste of spending. It’s ridiculous that this is in the bill,” Cassidy tweeted on March 6.



Cassidy, along with Cotton and their Texas counterpart Ted Cruz, pushed for the bill to be amended to stop the prisoners from receiving the checks but the vote ended up falling on party lines. In October last year, a district judge said the IRS could not withhold coronavirus relief payments from inmates, potentially giving nod to at least 80,000 checks totaling more than $100 million to be sent to people behind the bars across the US. 

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy (Getty Images)

That the Senate Republicans are not happy with the package was also evident with the group releasing a scathing video to slam it as soon as the votes were counted. “Democrats just rammed their "American Rescue Plan" through the Senate without *any* bipartisan support. ALL of the other relief bills were bipartisan. ALL of the other relief bills contained compromise. The American people deserve better than this partisan wishlist,” Senate Republicans tweeted. 



According to the video, the bill “was never about COVID” for the Democrats and says the bill provides “Golden State Bailouts... to states that stay closed and shortchange states that reopen”.

In January, the Biden administration faced flak over its decision to administer Covid-19 vaccines to the terror inmates at Guantanamo Bay before common people, including the elderly.