One Republican Senator – Ron Johnson of Wisconsin – has blocked a proposal from a second Republican senator – Josh Hawley of Missouri that would have given each qualifying American another COVID-19 $1,200 stimulus check.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders had joined Hawley in proposing $1,200 COVID-19 stimulus checks for each qualifying American. Hawley is a Republican from Missouri, and Sanders is an independent from Vermont. Couples would get $2,400 under the plan.
But Johnson put the kibosh on the proposal, which Hawley tried to get passed via unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate. According to Axios, Johnson cited the national debt as his reason for nixing the plan.
The announcement came as negotiations between the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House remain in a standstill. There have been varying proposals on stimulus relief: A skinny bill by Republicans, a larger plan by Democrats, a bipartisan proposal that attempts a compromise.
Many of those efforts deal with a larger stimulus relief plan, and a second round of stimulus checks has been caught up in haggling over the plan’s overall price tag.
Here’s what you need to know:
Johnson Said He Feared the Hawley Proposal Was a ‘Shotgun Approach’
“We have families in need. There’s no doubt about it. I completely support some kind of program targeted for small businesses so they can reemploy, so they can reopen, to restore capital,” Johnson said on the Senate floor, according to Axios.
“What I fear we’re going to do with this bipartisan package, and what the senator from Missouri is talking about is the same thing — a shotgun approach,” he continued.
“We will not have learned the lessons from our very hurried, very rushed, very massive, earlier relief packages. We’re just going to do more of the same, another trillion dollars. It takes our debt from $27.4 trillion to $28.4 trillion in a couple months. With doing virtually no revisions, no improvements.”
There’s another bill being discussed in Congress that includes stimulus checks, but only in the amount of $600.
Hawley Says Congress Needs to Find a Way to Help Working Families & Individuals
Hawley said in a floor speech: “If the Senate of the United States can find hundreds of billions of dollars to give to big government and big business, surely it can find some relief for working families and working individuals.”
Of his pairing up with Bernie Sanders, Hawley wrote on Twitter, “I’ll work with anybody who wants to take on the establishment and get relief for working families.”
He too called on Congress to vote before Christmas, tweeting, “I’ll say again, working families ought to be FIRST for #COVID19 relief, not last. That’s why I’ve joined @SenSanders in legislation to provide direct assistance to every working family that needs it. The Senate must vote on this before Christmas.”
According to the Hill, Sanders said it’s wrong for Congress to not deliver help to Americans before the holidays.
“This Congress must address the economic emergency facing the American people. We cannot go back to our families during the Christmas holidays while tens of millions of families are suffering,” Sanders said during a floor speech, according to The Hill.
The Hill reported that Hawley had initially proposed a standalone bill, but then Sanders reached out to him and suggested they team up. It’s part of a growing bipartisan effort to find a solution to the stalemate.
On December 10, Sanders wrote on Twitter, “It would be outrageous and unacceptable for members of Congress to go home when tens of millions of working families are facing economic desperation. We must act now.”