Sens. Hawley, Sanders Join to Push Stimulus Checks
Bernie Sanders holds a campaign rally in support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Oct. 5, 2020. (Adam J. Dewey/NurPhoto via AP)
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has joined with former two-time Democratic presidential candidate and self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to push for a measure that would provide another cash payment to individuals as a means to mitigate the economic effects of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The bill introduced Thursday would give $1,200 to each individual making $75,000 or less per year and $500 per child, similar to the payments that were doled out in the spring as part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or ''CARES,'' Act.
"My view is that we want a vote on this one way or another, before we leave town," Hawley told reporters.
"All that Sen. Hawley and I are asking for is the exact same language, word for word, that was in the CARES Act," Sanders said.
The unusual pairing comes as Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress and the White House have battled for more than six months on a bill that would replace some of the provisions of the CARES Act that expired at the end of July.
House Democrats in May passed a $3.4 trillion ''HEROES'' Act, which included replacements for things such as the payroll protection plan and enhanced unemployment compensation, but also added items such as payments to local and state governments.
The White House and Republicans balked, particularly at the payments to local and state governments, initially offering a $1 trillion package. The two sides have gone back-and-forth since, with the House Democrats approving a $2.2 trillion package in October and the White House reportedly countering with as much as $1.8 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., remained steadfast and even suggested a $500 billion package.
Last week, a bi-partisan group of senators, including liberal Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, unveiled a $908 billion package, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., voiced support for and Joe Biden called a ''down payment.''
McConnell on Thursday threw cold water on that proposal, saying Republican senators won't support $160 billion in state and local funds as part of a trade for a slimmed-down version of the liability shield for companies and organizations facing potential COVID-19 lawsuits.