Sanders, Hawley vow fight next week over stimulus checks

Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyMissouri Senate candidate says Congress members should go to jail if guilty of insider trading On The Money — Ban on stock trading for Congress gains steam The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote MORE (R-Mo.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows - Russia standoff over Ukraine dominates Sanders says Biden can't count on him to support 'almost any' spending package compromise Sanders says Republicans are 'laughing all the way to Election Day' MORE (I-Vt.) are warning they will use next Friday's government funding deadline to try to force a vote on a second round of stimulus checks amid lawmakers' failure to secure a deal on another coronavirus relief package. 

"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. 

While Sanders and Hawley allowed a one-week continuing resolution to clear on Friday, averting a shutdown, they are warning about a showdown next week on their proposal. 

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"I am not one of the members of the Senate who shuts down, does this or does that and keeps you here for the weekend. I don't do that. But this I want to say right now, I am prepared to withdraw my objection at this moment, but I will not be prepared to withdraw an objection next week," Sanders said.  

Hawley added that there is "no reason that this body should leave next week before we vote on and approve direct assistance to working families." 

Hawley and Sanders, typically political polar opposites, have teamed up to push for a second round of stimulus checks as Congress tries to wrap up its work for the year, with leadership needing to get a mammoth government funding deal and potentially a fifth coronavirus agreement. 

Hawley initially introduced a stand-alone bill on Thursday morning. Hours later, after he says Sanders reached out to him, they agreed to team up and introduced a joint proposal that they are hoping can ride either on a government bill or a coronavirus deal. 

The two senators are calling for a vote on their proposal that would provide a $1,200 check for individuals who make up to $75,000 — mirroring language included the March CARES Act. 

Progressives and Hawley are pushing for a second round of direct payments. Neither a proposal from a bipartisan group of lawmakers nor one from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) included the stimulus checks. 

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GOP leadership has warned that stimulus checks divide their caucus and could beef up the price tag, which could also threaten Republican support. 

But Hawley said that he is "a little more optimistic" about their chances. 

"I think there's a lot of different vehicles that could be moving next week," Hawley said. "The best outcome here is this gets put into an actual COVID relief bill." 

Asked about how realistic it is that he'll be able to force a vote, Sanders described himself as "comfortable," adding that the "alternative is we're going to spend Christmas here." 

--updated at 3:38 p.m.