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Republican Senator Blocks Bipartisan Bill to Provide $1,200 Stimulus Checks

Millions of Americans are heading into the new year facing surging hunger and the looming threat of mass evictions.



Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has blocked bipartisan efforts to pass a second round of stimulus checks, arguing that such checks are “mortgaging our children’s future” despite the fact that millions of Americans are heading into the new year facing surging hunger and the looming threat of mass evictions.

Fellow GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri had attempted to get consent from Senate colleagues for a bill that would provide an additional $1,200 to individuals who earn up to $75,000, independent of the roughly $900 billion compromise package being hotly negotiated as holidays draw closer.

“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, reports The Hill.

The Wisconsin senator dismissed the possibility of such checks as “mortgaging our children’s future,” despite his support for the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March as well as the more recent $741 billion defense budget. The move is consisted with Republicans’ ham-fisted return to a fiscal conservatism that was largely ignored while President Donald Trump increased the federal debt by $7 trillion to the current $27 trillion.

Hawley, on the other hand, had teamed up with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a bipartisan push to bring urgent direct payments to individuals, rather than businesses, who are buckling under the pressure of the pandemic and related sharp economic downturn.

“Nothing could be more targeted, no relief could be more important, than relief for working people,” Hawley said.

“Now the senator is right,” Hawley added. “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,” he continued. “I just urge members of these bodies, go home and try explaining that to the people of your state.”

However, Johnson argued that the check go too far and that such additional aid to Americans would mean “mortgaging our children’s future.”

He also used his privilege as a senator to block the bill. Under the Senate’s rules, any senator can request the passage of a bill but any other senator is allowed to 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 explained.

“We will not have learned the lessons from our very hurried, very rushed earlier relief packages,” Johnson added.

Johnson had raised similar points during stimulus talks in October.

“I came from the Tea Party. We are concerned,” Johnson said at the time, according to CNN.

Hawley vowed to continue fighting to pass the bill alongside Sanders.

The continued grappling on Capitol Hill comes as Americans continue struggling to remain afloat in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus.

The federal ban on evictions set to expire at the end of the year could see a major crisis of people without roofs over their heads come 2021.

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an unprecedented order that banned evictions between September 4 and December 31.

The CDC warned that anywhere between 30 to 40 million people could face evictions without the measure, adding that “a wave of evictions on that scale would be unprecedented in modern times” and contribute to the spread of the pandemic due to people moving into closer quarters in shared housing or simply living on the streets.

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