There remains some serious disagreement over the direction of a second coronavirus relief bill — even among members of the same party.
According to recent reports, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Friday put an end to a proposal from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) that would have included another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans.
“Very hurried, very rushed”
Passing such a bill, Johnson argued, would mean lawmakers “have not learned the lessons from our very hurried, very rushed earlier relief packages.”
According to The Hill, Hawley attempted to attain the consent necessary to pass a bill including the second round of checks.
Under his proposition, Americans who earn less than $75,000 annually would receive a $1,200 payment with those filing jointly receiving up to $2,400 and $500 for each dependent child. A smaller payment would also go to those who make between $75,000 and $99,000 per year.
In a floor speech criticizing some of his fellow lawmakers, Hawley accused them of ignoring the needs of “working people” while looking out for banks and big business.
“We bailed out the banks to such a tune that now they’ve got money left over,” he asserted. “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.”
“Targeted for small businesses”
Hawley went on to insist that it is “no answer for this body to tell them, go get in an unemployment line.”
Of course, he needed the consent of every senator to be successful — and it took opposition from just one colleague to derail the effort.
In response to Hawley’s bill, Johnson raised concerns about putting America further in debt, going on to argue that the proposal was not sufficiently targeted.
“I completely support some kind of program targeted for small businesses,” he said. “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.”
The possibility of future direct payments is not altogether dead, though, with senators still reportedly considering a $900 billion package that would include $600 checks for individuals.