Wisconsin Republican state Sen. Julian Bradley and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo proposed on Monday that prison convicts’ stimulus checks be withheld to help pay for their crimes.
Two Wisconsin state legislators told the Washington Post on Tuesday that they are proposing convicted criminals be required to forfeit their share of the $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus in restitution.
“President Biden’s irresponsible stimulus package sends stimulus checks to imprisoned murderers, rapists, and child molesters,” cosponsor and newly-elected state Sen. Julian Bradley told the outlet. “Rep. Sanfelippo and I are taking action to ensure the victims of these heinous crimes are paid restitution before criminals sitting in prison can profit.”
In an e-mail statement provided to the Associated Press, Bradley called the bill a “common sense proposal.” state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, who has been serving Madison, Wisconsin, since 2013, cosponsored the bill but has yet to release a statement of his own. The public is also waiting on word from Democrat Gov. Tony Evers.
According to guidance by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), prisoners received the previous $1,200 checks from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) last spring. CARES distributed approximately $100 million to inmates across the country, as well as millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. However, just after the funds were released, the IRS changed its position: The stimulus money was withheld from prisoners, and any who received the funds were asked to return them.
On March 6 at 10:12am, the Senate voted on an amendment to exclude prisoners—like the Boston Bomber—from getting stimulus checks.
Every Democrat voted to send checks to prisoners, and every Republican voted to stop prisoners from getting checks.
Here’s the vote: pic.twitter.com/3q5Bw1z0um
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) March 8, 2021
GOP Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has publicly criticized the idea of prisoners being given the stimulus checks. “Dylann Roof murdered nine people. He’s on federal death row,” he tweeted on March 6. “He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘COVID relief’ bill.” Two days later, Cotton called out the sharp divide between Democrat and Republican votes to exclude prisoners from this second payment.
“On March 6 at 10:12am, the Senate voted on an amendment to exclude prisoners—like the Boston Bomber—from getting stimulus checks,” Cotton wrote. “Congress (or at least Republicans) did not intend to send prisoners serving life sentences stimulus checks as part of CARES. Murderers in prison haven’t lost income because of COVID.”