Working families need to be “first in line for coronavirus relief,” Sen. Josh Hawley said Friday, vowing that he will insist on direct payments to Americans.
“I’m certainly not going to consent to the Senate going home for Christmas until we have voted on direct relief for working families in America,” Hawley told “America’s Newsroom.” “I will not consent to it. I’m going to the floor here very shortly, in about an hour and ask for an up or down vote on twelve hundred dollars in relief for every working individual.”
Hawley, R-Mo., wants $2,400 per couple and $500 for each child in a family.
“This needs to be in the [COVID-19] relief bill. And if it is not, I will not consent to the Senate leaving,” Hawley said, adding that working families are “in desperate need” on a number of levels.
Negotiations are still underway for a more than $900 billion coronavirus releif bill that is separate from an omnibus spending bill to keep the government open. The measure will likely lack a liability shield for lawsuits and money for state and local governments. However, there is an effort to tuck a provision in the bill for another round of direct payments.
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “really unhappy” on Thursday with the stimulus package being negotiated in Congress, saying it was not acceptable that the deal was unlikely to include state and local aid.
“What do we see right now in Washington?” de Blasio asked. “Endless discussion that now is leaving out all state and local aid, that means that city government, state government will not be able to get back on our feet and serve our people — it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday that “We’re still talking and I think we’re going to get there.”
On Thursday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., seemed to agree.
“We’re very close to an agreement, but the details really matter when it comes to unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, aid to small businesses and so much else.”
But de Blasio said that sidelining local government aid means there will be no proper recovery in places like New York.
“I don’t find this package acceptable, it’s not going to get us where we need to go,” he said.
Although, he said direct payments were a step in the right direction.
Hawley stressed that unemployment is “edging back up.”
“We’ve got millions of working folks who are out of work and then other folks who have work but who are missing shifts, who have taken wage reductions because of” COVID-19, Hawley said.
Such conditions leave families struggling to feed their kids and go to the doctor, he said.
“Working people ought to be first in line for relief, not last,” Hawley said. “You know, let’s not forget, they were initially left out completely of these [COVID-19] relief deals even just a few days ago. No relief, no direct relief for working families. We’ve got to make sure working people get relief. They ought to be top priority.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.