Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) On Friday, objected to Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Motion to pass a bill through unanimous consent that would raise $ 1,200 to Americans in the form of direct stimulus checks , referring to the balloonist. debt.
Why it matters: Hawley is teaming up with an unlikely partner, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), In an effort to include direct payments in Congress’ next coronavirus relief package, which has entered the final stages of negotiations.
- The bill currently being discussed by congressional leaders does include direct payments, but at a size closer to $ 600 – half of what Sanders and Hawley said is needed to support working families.
- Johnson’s concerns about the size of the stimulus package, which at about $ 900 billion would be one of the largest in US history, are shared by many Senate Republicans.
What they say: “We have families in need. There’s no question about it. I fully support some sort of program that targets small businesses so that they can resume work, so they can reopen, to restore capital,” Johnson said on the Senate floor.
- “What I fear we’re going to do with this two-pronged package, and what the senator from Missouri is talking about, is the same thing: a shotgun approach,” he continued.
- “We won’t have learned the lessons from our very rushed, very rushed, very massive, previous aid packages. We’re just going to do more of the same thing, another trillion dollars. It takes our debt from $ 27.4 trillion to $ 28.4. trillion. A few months. With virtually no revisions, no improvements. “
The other side: “Nothing could be more focused. No relief could be more important than relief for working people,” Hawley responded after Johnson’s objection.
- “The senator is right. This body has spent trillions of dollars on COVID aid this year alone. We’re preparing to apparently spend another $ 1 trillion more. And yet working people are being told they may be the last. – when they all get relief. “
What to watch: Hawley said Sanders will be back in a “matter of hours” to try to pay the bill again. Both senators have said they will block an extension of government funding when it expires tonight, unless direct payments are in the aid package.
Go deeper: Weekly unemployment claims soar to 885,000 as Congress approaches the stimulus deal