What Issue Brought Sens. Hawley and Sanders Together?

Posted: Dec 16, 2020 6:55 PM
What Issue Brought Sens. Hawley and Sanders Together?

Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) have very little in common, but both have found common ground as it relates to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic: both senators believe working-class Americans need to see another round of stimulus checks in the next COVID relief bill. 

The duo's proposal is similar to the CARES Act that was passed in March, which included $1,200 per individual or $2,400 for married couples as well as $500 per child. 

"The most important thing Congress can do now is to get assistance into the hands of working families and working people," Hawley said Wednesday morning. "These are the people who should be first in line with COVID relief, not last. They shouldn't be an afterthought. Working people have borne the brunt of this pandemic and they need direct support."

According to Hawley, Americans are having to pick and choose what expenses they pay, like whether to make car payments, purchase food, or buy Christmas gifts for their kids. 

"Working people are in need. We're not talking about giving checks to everybody, for Heaven's sake. We're talking about working families. We're talking about those who bore the brunt of the pandemic," he explained. "And the quickest way to get them help and relief is to give them direct support, to give them a check like we did in March."

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, Sanders said he was happy with where the negotiations were at. He stated that, as he was aware, the current direct payment deal included $600 per working-class adult and $600 per child.

On Wednesday evening, Sanders took to the floor of the Senate to encourage his colleagues to come back to the table and get to the $1,200 direct payment threshold that Americans need. He cited alleged polling that found 80 percent of Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike – want to see the government step in to help families out.

"They say in this midst of this emergency, 'We need the United States government to respond to our pain because we don't want to get evicted, we don't want our kids to go hungry, we don't want to be saddled with incredible debt.' Government has got to do something," Sanders explained. 

Bernie stated he's happy that the direct cash payment is on the table, although the amount is "half" of what he "wanted" to see. 

"I'm going to do my best to make sure we come as closely to the $1,200 as we possibly can," he explained. 

Because of their efforts, it's looking increasingly likely that Republicans and Democrats will come to an agreement on including another round of direct payments.

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