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Josh Hawley’s push for $1,200 stimulus checks blocked by Wisconsin Republican

By: - December 18, 2020 3:57 pm

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) argues for $1,200 stimulus checks for American families. (Screenshot from C-SPAN)

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) spoke out on Friday on the Senate floor in opposition to a bipartisan proposal advanced by his colleague Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) that would given direct payments of $1,200 to Americans as part of a package of pandemic relief measures.

Hawley and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) say the direct payment amount of $600 that is currently part of the $900 billion measure expected to pass by the weekend is too small.

Johnson cited concerns about the national debt and “our children’s future” in objecting to the payments.

“I completely support some kind of program targeted for small businesses so they can re-employ so they can reopen to restore capital — their life savings has been wiped out,” Johnson said on the floor, complaining that his small business proposals had been “ignored.”

“I feel we’re going to do with this bipartisan package and what the Senator from Missouri is talking about is the same thing — a shotgun approach,” Johnson added. “We will not have learned the lessons from our very hurried, very rushed, very massive earlier relief packages — we’re just going to do more of the same.”

“I not only object to what Sen. Hawley is proposing here, but I’m certainly lodging my objection to what’s barreling through here,” Johnson said, calling the entire pandemic relief package “way too big,” and adding, “We are mortgaging our children’s future without reforms, without targeting,”

“I just want to say this: Nothing could be more targeted, no relief could be more important, than relief for working people,” Hawley added. “The senator’s right; this body has spent trillions of dollars this year alone on COVID relief. We’re getting ready to spend, apparently, another trillion dollars more and yet working people are told they may be last. If they get relief at all.”Hawley responded, “I’ve appreciated working with Senator Johnson on so many issues. On this issue I’m afraid we just are going to have to differ.”

“Go home and try explaining that to the people of your state,” Hawley urged his colleagues, pointing to the money spent to bail out banks and big businesses during the pandemic.

“Now Wall Street is doing great, big tech, they’re doing great. The big multinational corporations, fantastic. Working people — working people are living in their cars. Working people can’t go to the doctor. Working people can’t pay their rent. Working people can’t feed their children.”

Saying he was “proud to partner” with Bernie Sanders on this issue, the Missouri Republican vowed to continue to fight “with whomever it takes for however long it takes, until we get the working people of this country relief.”

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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.