Hawley introduces bill for second round of stimulus checks

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Thursday introduced legislation to provide a second round of stimulus checks to most Americans as negotiations on a larger coronavirus relief package struggle to reach a breakthrough. 

Hawley, who has said he will oppose any deal that doesn’t include another round of direct assistance, said his legislation mirrors a proposal from the March CARES Act that provided a $1,200 check for individuals who made up to $75,000. 

“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 added. 

Under Senate rules any one senator can go to the floor to ask for a vote, but any one senator can also object and block the vote. 

Hawley’s decision to introduce a stand-alone bill comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pushed for another round of checks to be included in any year-end agreement. 

Progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), are also pushing for checks to be included. 

Separate proposals from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers did not include another round of stimulus checks over concerns that including them would increase the price tag and compromise support for the frameworks. 

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pitched Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and GOP leadership on another proposal that would include $600 checks. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Axios that both he and McConnell supported the proposal.  

But there’s opposition within the Republican caucus to another round of stimulus checks and senators have grumbled that congressional leadership, not the administration, should be handling the negotiations at this stage of the game. 

Hawley, a potential 2024 contender, urged President Trump during a phone call over the weekend to veto any bill that does not include more stimulus checks. 

“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 him that, and … I encouraged him to veto it,” Hawley said about his conversation with Trump, which took place as the president was traveling back from Georgia.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Coronavirus coronavirus relief COVID-19 Donald Trump Josh Hawley Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steven Mnuchin stimulus checks

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