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GOP senator blocks bill for $1,200 stimulus checks for second time

GOP Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban 'Real Housewives of the GOP' — Wannabe reality show narcissists commandeer the party Republicans fret over divisive candidates MORE (Wis.) blocked a proposal to provide another round of stimulus checks for the second time on Friday — this time when it was offered by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi pushes for drug pricing measure amid uncertainty from White House White House sees GOP proposal as legitimate starting point The Memo: Washington's fake debate on 'bipartisanship' MORE (I-Vt.). 

Sanders, speaking from the Senate floor late Friday afternoon, tried to pass his bill that would provide a second $1,200 stimulus check for Americans making up to $75,000, the same language passed during a March CARES Act. 

“This is not a radical idea. This is an idea that is supported by President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE. It is an idea that is supported by President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE,” Sanders said. “The American people cannot wait any longer; they need economic relief right now. ...vThey need help and they need it now.” 

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Sanders is the second senator to try to pass a bill Friday to provide a second round of $1,200 checks. Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHawley votes against anti-Asian hate crime bill Senate passes anti-Asian hate crimes bill On The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal MORE (R-Mo.) also tried earlier Friday and was similarly blocked by Johnson, who argued that additional coronavirus relief needs to be targeted and voiced concerns about the country's debt. 

“I'm not heartless. I want to help people. ... I voted for the $2.2 trillion CARES Act but I am also concerned about our children's future. ... We do not have an unlimited checking account,” Johnson, who is up for reelection in 2022, said after he blocked Sanders's request. 

Sanders, before he tried to pass the bill, said it was “comical that suddenly our Republican friends once again discover that we have a deficit.”

Hawley and Sanders, political opposites, emerged as Congress's latest odd couple to push for Congress to pass a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks either as a stand-alone bill or part of a sweeping coronavirus and government funding deal that is still being agreed to by leadership. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate to vote next week on repealing Trump methane rule  Joe Lieberman to push senators on DC statehood On The Money: Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change | Senate GOP adopts symbolic earmark ban, digs in on debt limit MORE (D-N.Y.) aligned himself with Sanders on Friday. 

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“The quickest way to get money into the pockets of the American people is too send some of their tax dollars right back where they came from. So let's step up the plate. ... I support Senator Sanders's request fully and hope the Senate will consent,” Schumer said. 

Hawley and Sanders let Congress pass a one-week continuing resolution (CR) last week but warned that they viewed the ongoing negotiations as a leverage point. 

Hawley warned earlier Friday that he could hold up a CR until he gets details on what is being negotiated as part of the coronavirus package, which would be tied to a $1.4 trillion government funding package. 

“I'd like to see some indication of what we're moving toward,” Hawley said. “So I'm not going to allow a CR to go through until I know what's actually in the package.”