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Sen. Josh Hawley to call for 'up or down vote' on second round of direct checks to Americans


Negotiations continue over another coronavirus relief package

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley has vowed to ask Friday for an "up or down vote" in the upper chamber over a proposal to issue a second round of direct payments to Americans as part of another COVID-19 relief package.

The senator's declaration comes as Congress runs up against a deadline to decide on a deal ahead of their Christmas break after months of negotiating.

What are the details?

"Tomorrow I will go to the Senate floor to ask for an up or down vote on my bill to provide a direct payment of $1200 to working Americans, $2400 for couples, $500 for kids," Hawley tweeted Thursday. "This is the #covid relief working families need."

The day before, Hawley said from the Senate floor, "I'm not interested in stimulus, I'm interested in helping working people survive and help them to get back up on their feet so they can manage their own lives. That's why the need is so great."

He argued in a tweet, "Working people don't want pity. They want help - to get back on their feet & provide for their families. That's what #covid direct assistance is about. And I won't let the Senate leave for Christmas until direct help is on the way."

The Missouri Republican has been pushing adamantly for direct payments to individuals and families as a priority, after previous proposals omitted such checks while including benefits for companies and bailout funds for state and local governments.

Hawley even teamed with far-left Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in pushing their colleagues to include direct checks, in a pairing The Hill called "Congress's latest couple" while pointing out that the two Senators are typically on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to policy.

How are negotiations going?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said from the Senate floor Thursday that a "bipartisan, bicameral agreement appears to be close at hand" on a package projected to be around $900 billion. McConnell told the upper chamber, "We're going to stay right here, right here, until we're finished. Even if that means working through the weekend, which is highly likely."

ABC News reported:

While a COVID-19 relief deal still must be finalized, it's expected to include $300 billion for the small business loan program, money for vaccine distribution and testing, education funds, and up to $600 in one-time direct payments for Americans on a sliding scale depending on income levels.
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