GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has introduced a targeted coronavirus relief bill for struggling American individuals and families.
Amid months of stalled negotiations between the Democrat-run House, the GOP-controlled Senate, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Hawley on Wednesday introduced a bill that would offer immediate relief to individuals and families.
In the chess match that has become relief talks, Hawley is seeking a targeted and bipartisan agreement.
Hawley stated quite strongly that he is opposed to any bill that doesn’t offer direct checks to Americans. In fact, he said his bill would only include such relief, according to The Hill.
Signaling his approval of the CARES Act which was passed in March with bipartisan support, Hawley said he again wants the federal government to send each American making less than $75,000 annually a $1,200 stimulus check, and more for those with minor children.
“It’s what every single senator has already supported, so there should be no fiddling about ‘Oh I don’t know this is different.’ It’s exactly what every senator has voted for once,” Hawley said.
“If the negotiators can’t reach some sort of compromise I will go to the floor next week and I’ll ask for an up or down vote on that.”
Hawley also spoke with Fox News on Thursday, and said he would ask for an up or down vote on a bill for direct payments should Congress fail to reach a deal by the week’s end. He also stated he has the support of President Trump. According to The Hill, Hawley said he spoke with President Donald Trump this past weekend on the phone about such a bill, and encouraged him to veto bills that do not include stimulus payments.
“I’m continuing to be flummoxed as to why there aren’t any direct payments. Everybody supported this in March. It’s the most useful, helpful and frankly popular aspect. So I told [the president] that, and … I encouraged him to veto it,” Hawley stated.
Hawley wrote on Twitter that the payments for individuals and families should mirror payments that were first sent out beginning in April.
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This is exactly the relief every Senator voted for in March. Working families should not be an afterthought now. They should be first in line for #COVID19 relief
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 10, 2020
“Today I am introducing legislation to provide direct #COVID19 relief for every working family in need – $1200/ person, $2400/ couple, $500/ child. If the Senate will not include this help in a relief package, I will go to the floor & ask for up or down vote,” Hawley wrote.
“This is exactly the relief every Senator voted for in March. Working families should not be an afterthought now. They should be first in line for #COVID19 relief,” he added.
Hawley also criticized his peers in Congress for failing to come together, and cited rising unemployment numbers for his motivation to get checks sent out.
“Americans need direct payments now. Families are struggling. Unemployment claims are rising and food lines are growing. It’s time Congress finally acts,” Hawley said in a statement obtained by Fox News.
“Direct payments should be at the center of any Covid relief legislation that Congress passes. If Congress doesn’t pass relief legislation with direct payments in it by next week, I will go to the Senate floor to demand a vote on my legislation.”
Hawley signaled last week he is willing to reach across the aisle, and even work with Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, if necessary, to get a direct payment deal inked.
NBC News correspondent Garrett Haake tweeted that he had spoken with Ocasio-Cortez, and she had informed him that she and Hawley had spoken. Haake quoted the New York Democrat as saying she would be “happy to work with that element of the Republican Party” with regard to direct payments.
“I will gladly work w/ @AOC and anyone else who wants to help working families. Families and working people in need should be the FIRST consideration in COVID relief, not last,” the Missouri Republican wrote