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GOP senator blocks bill to provide $1,200 stimulus checks

GOP Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress MORE (Wis.) on Friday blocked an effort to pass a second round of stimulus checks, arguing coronavirus relief needs to be targeted and raising concerns about the country's debt.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTo 'lower the temperature' raise commitments to federalism Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial Beto O'Rourke: Ted Cruz 'guilty of sedition' in Capitol insurrection MORE (R-Mo.) tried to get consent, which requires the cooperation of every senator, to pass his bill that would provide $1,200 for individuals who make up to $75,000 — the exact same language that Congress passed as part of the CARES Act in March.

"What I'm proposing is what every senator has supported already, this year. ... What I'm proposing will give working folks in my state and across this country a shot ... at getting back up on their feet," Hawley said from the Senate floor.

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But Johnson objected. Under the Senate's rules any one senator can request to pass a bill but any other senator can object and block it.

"I completely support some kind of program targeted for small businesses. ... So 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, is a shotgun approach," Johnson said.

"We will not have learned the lessons from our very hurried, very rushed earlier relief packages," Johnson added.

Hawley, a potential 2024 presidential contender, has been pushing for Congress to pass a second round of stimulus checks before the end of the year.

He teamed up with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years This week: Senate stuck in limbo MORE (I-Vt.) to try to get it into a one-week continuing resolution (CR) that passed last week or part of a sweeping deal to provide year-end coronavirus relief and fund the government until Oct. 1, which is still being negotiated.

Congress needs to pass the agreement, or a stopgap bill, by the end of Friday in order to prevent a government shutdown.

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Hawley warned Friday that he won't allow a CR to pass until he knows what's in the potential agreement.

"I'm not going to allow a CR to go through until I know what's actually in the package," he said.

The Missouri senator added that he wanted an "assurance" that direct assistance was in the package. Leadership is negotiating a package that is expected to include $600 checks.

"It better include direct assistance at a substantial level," he said.

Hawley said he and Sanders would return to the floor later Friday to try for a second time to pass their bill.