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

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (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 Hawley (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.

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 Sanders (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.

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.

Tags Bernie Sanders coronavirus stimulus bill Josh Hawley Ron Johnson

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