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Sen. Josh Hawley Advises Trump To Veto Coronavirus Relief Bill if It Does Not Include Stimulus Checks

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As Congressional leaders negotiate another COVID-19 relief bill to provide much-needed aid to Americans, President Donald Trump is signaling his willingness to sign a bill.

However, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told Politico that he is urging the president to veto any relief bill that does not include another round of stimulus payments.

In an interview with the outlet, Hawley shared some details of a conversation he had with Trump on the way back from Georgia on Saturday.

“I said, ‘I think it’s vital that any relief include direct payments, and I’m not gonna vote for it if it doesn’t.’ And I also urged him to veto any bill that did not have direct payments in it,” Hawley said.

He went on to say it is “wild” that neither a Republican-crafted relief bill nor a $908 billion bipartisan bill include direct payments like the $1,200 payments that were sent to Americans under the first CARES Act passed in March. 

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He continued, ‘”We had a good conversation about it. And, you know, a pretty thorough conversation. He asked a number of questions about the state of play of the different proposals. And I think it’s fair to say that he was surprised at the direction that some of these were headed.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has also voiced support for another round of direct payments and reportedly recently spoke to Hawley about the issue.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has introduced a roughly $500 billion “targeted” coronavirus bill that would extend enhanced unemployment benefits, provide funding for vaccines, and more aid for small businesses.

FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S., September 9 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

After months of gridlock, McConnell said, “We have seen some hopeful signs of engagement from our Democratic colleagues. But we have no reason to think the underlying disagreements about policy are going to evaporate overnight.”

Additionally, he previously said that he had worked with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to “ascertain what the president would actually sign into law.”

For his part, Trump said he would sign a bill if it is passed by Congress. 

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the $908 billion relief proposal should be “used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations.”

While neither bill includes direct payments to Americans, some analysts say there may not be an appetite for another massive spending bill after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. 

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