Stimulus checks amendment co-introduced by GOP Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Bernie Sanders
Republicans, Democrats, and the White House are still unable to resolve key sticking points in the economic negotiations, and the clutter has created a rather unlikely alliance: Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT )) came together and introduced an amendment that adds economic reviews to the funding laws required to prevent government shutdown.
"At this moment of the economic crisis, we must do everything possible to restore confidence that this government is working for the common people," said Sanders, a democratic socialist icon, from the Senate on Thursday evening. "Let's do the right thing, let's pass this amendment bipartisan."
Hawley, a self-described “constitutionally conservative” Republican, introduced the Direct Family and Worker Payments Act to propose a second round of stimulus testing with similar size and eligibility criteria as the first. Under the CARES bill, around 160 million Americans received a stimulus payment of up to $ 1,200 - plus $ 500 for child dependent children - of over $ 270 billion from the 2.2 aid package passed in March Trillion dollars. Sanders helped introduce the amendment.
"I've heard some of my colleagues say that there is simply not enough left for working families, that once we address our other priorities and COVID relief, there will not be enough left to support individuals directly" said Hawley from the Senate on Thursday night. "I would respectfully suggest that these priorities are reversed."
Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at George Washington University in Washington, DC on September 24, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images)
Despite the bipartisan gesture, a standalone deal is unlikely to have enough votes to become law unless a major deal is reached on stimuli.
"My own opinion on Sen. Hawley's proposal, especially if it constitutes a threat of veto by the White House, is that an already difficult and complicated negotiation becomes more complicated and therefore less likely," said Gordon Gray, director of financial policy at The American Action Forum , a conservative think tank, told Yahoo Money. "They're expensive, and when Republicans want to get the costs under control and find consensus with the Democrats, they are pushing out other priorities."
Included two of the key proposals on the negotiating table - the roughly $ 500 billion package from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Democratic-backed bipartisan $ 908 billion proposal no provision on direct payments. The $ 916 billion White House proposal is the only one that includes the provision but omits additional unemployment benefits that Democratic leaders have labeled "unacceptable".
Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on Judicial Officer Nominations and Online Content Modernization Act on Thursday, December 10, 2020 in the Dirksen building. (Photo by Tom Williams / CQ Appeal, Inc via Getty Images)
"No financial help from this proposal"
Democrats like Sanders, MPs Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) have called for a second round of stimulus checks.
In a statement on Friday, Sanders called the bipartisan proposal "unacceptable" because it "doesn't even do what the CARES bill did, including at least a direct payment of $ 1,200 to working class Americans and $ 500 to their children."
"Tens of millions of Americans living in despair today would receive absolutely no financial aid from this proposal," Sanders said. "That is not acceptable."
Read more: How to apply for unemployment insurance
Both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) and the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC) expire on December 26, unless Congress enters into a business cycle agreement.
Hawley isn't the only Republican to back the determination. This also applies to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), among others.
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the economic agreement would be tied to legislation required in the next two weeks, to prevent a partial government shutdown.
Up to 12 million Americans are expected to lose unemployment benefit coverage if two programs passed under the CARES bill, the massive pandemic law passed in March, expire on December 26th. The federal eviction moratorium, paid sick leave, aid to state and local governments among others will also lapse the relief.
"We will not leave this town until we have voted on direct relief for the working people," Hawley said from the Senate on Thursday evening.
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