Politics

GOP senator blocks bill for $1,200 stimulus checks for second time

GOP Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal Krebs emphasizes security of election as senators butt heads Rand Paul claims election ‘in many ways was stolen’ during Krebs hearing MORE (Wis.) blocked a proposal to provide another round of stimulus checks for the second time on Friday — this time when it was offered by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCongress set to blow past shutdown deadline amid coronavirus talks Hawley to try to force vote on proposal for ,200 stimulus checks The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Mastercard – Congress slogs toward COVID-19 relief, omnibus deal MORE (I-Vt.). 

Sanders, speaking from the Senate floor late Friday afternoon, tried to pass his bill that would provide a second $1,200 stimulus check for Americans making up to $75,000, the same language passed during a March CARES Act. 

“This is not a radical idea. This is an idea that is supported by President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJill Biden: Doctorate is one of the things I’m ‘most proud of’ Azar tells Health Department staff his wife has COVID-19: ‘Mild symptoms but otherwise doing well’ Michigan reinstates pandemic-related moratorium on water shutoffs MORE. It is an idea that is supported by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenLos Angeles mayor announces he won’t be joining Biden administration Jill Biden: Doctorate is one of the things I’m ‘most proud of’ READ: Deb Haaland’s official statement on historic nomination to Interior secretary MORE,” Sanders said. “The American people cannot wait any longer; they need economic relief right now. …vThey need help and they need it now.” 

Sanders is the second senator to try to pass a bill Friday to provide a second round of $1,200 checks. Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOn The Money: Fight over Federal Reserve powers holding up year-end deal | Congress set to blow past shutdown deadline amid coronavirus talks | Experts say stimulus deal could head off double-dip recession Congress set to blow past shutdown deadline amid coronavirus talks Hawley to try to force vote on proposal for ,200 stimulus checks MORE (R-Mo.) also tried earlier Friday and was similarly blocked by Johnson, who argued that additional coronavirus relief needs to be targeted and voiced concerns about the country’s debt. 

“I’m not heartless. I want to help people. … I voted for the $2.2 trillion CARES Act but I am also concerned about our children’s future. … We do not have an unlimited checking account,” Johnson, who is up for reelection in 2022, said after he blocked Sanders’s request. 

Sanders, before he tried to pass the bill, said it was “comical that suddenly our Republican friends once again discover that we have a deficit.”

Hawley and Sanders, political opposites, emerged as Congress’s latest odd couple to push for Congress to pass a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks either as a stand-alone bill or part of a sweeping coronavirus and government funding deal that is still being agreed to by leadership. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOcasio-Cortez: I’m ‘not ready’ to be Speaker but Pelosi and Schumer need to go With Senate at stake, Georgia is on all our minds Democrats see stimulus checks as winning issue in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.) aligned himself with Sanders on Friday. 

“The quickest way to get money into the pockets of the American people is too send some of their tax dollars right back where they came from. So let’s step up the plate. … I support Senator Sanders’s request fully and hope the Senate will consent,” Schumer said. 

Hawley and Sanders let Congress pass a one-week continuing resolution (CR) last week but warned that they viewed the ongoing negotiations as a leverage point. 

Hawley warned earlier Friday that he could hold up a CR until he gets details on what is being negotiated as part of the coronavirus package, which would be tied to a $1.4 trillion government funding package. 

“I’d like to see some indication of what we’re moving toward,” Hawley said. “So I’m not going to allow a CR to go through until I know what’s actually in the package.”  

 

 

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