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Sen. Hawley reaffirms support for stimulus checks, will ‘gladly work’ with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez

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In a rare showing of bipartisanship, conservative Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a supporter of sending more stimulus checks, reaffirmed his support on Friday and also said that he would “gladly work” with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a self-described democratic socialist, and anyone else to make families and workers the priority when it comes to COVID-19 relief.

“I will gladly work w/ @AOC and anyone else who wants to help working families,” the junior senator from Missouri wrote in a tweet. “Families and working people in need should be the FIRST consideration in COVID relief, not last”.

On the same day as Hawley’s tweet, Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), another member of “The Squad,” a group of progressive Democrats, called for $1,200 stimulus checks to be included in the next COVID-19 relief package. Stimulus checks have only been sent out once during the pandemic so far, which was back in the spring and part of the CARES Act.

Negotiations between congressional leaders, as well as with the Trump administration, over delivering a new COVID-19 economic stimulus package have been stalled for months. As the months have piled up, calls for both sides of the aisle to reach a compromise and send more stimulus checks to the millions of Americans affected financially by the pandemic have intensified.

For the most part, experts expect that such legislation will likely not be passed until January, when the newly elected Congress and President-elect Joe Biden are sworn in. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday and Friday both expressed optimism about getting a mid-sized relief bill passed.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Gallup poll: Immigration surges to ‘most important problem’ among Americans

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In just the last month alone, Immigration has become the most important problem facing the United States to many Americans, surging from 20% to 28%. “Immigration has now passed the government as the most often cited problem, after the two issues tied for the top position the past two months. The government ranked first each month from January through November 2023″ reports Gallup.

In the latest poll, immigration surpasses all other issues as the most pressing issue (28%); 20% of Americans name the government as the most important problem, followed by the economy (12%) and inflation (11%). Immigration is the only issue that has shown meaningful change in the past month.

The latest results are based on a Feb. 1-20 Gallup survey. Immigration has ranked ahead of all other issues as the most important problem before, having last done so five years ago when there was a surge of attempted border crossings by Central American migrants. Immigration also ranked as the No. 1 problem in July and November 2018 and July 2014.

Gallup started compiling mentions of immigration in 1981. The 28% currently naming immigration as the most important problem essentially ties the 27% reading from July 2019 as the highest in Gallup’s trend.

The latest survey was conducted at a time when a bipartisan group of congressional senators reached an agreement on an immigration reform proposal. The bill ultimately failed to pass a Senate vote, but it faced an uncertain fate in the Republican-led House of Representatives even if it had passed. The House passed a tougher immigration bill in 2023 that the Democratic-led Senate has not taken up and President Joe Biden promised to veto.

The recent bipartisan negotiations took place in response to a record number of border crossings at the southern border in recent months, peaking at over 300,000 in December. An influx of migrants in U.S. cities has also stressed social services there.

Republicans typically are the subgroup most likely to name immigration as the most important problem, and they are largely responsible for the increase in mentions this month. Currently, 57% of Republicans, up from 37% in January, say immigration is the top problem. Independents show a modest uptick, from 16% in January to 22% now, while there has been no meaningful change among Democrats (9% in January and 10% in February).

Residents of the East (36%) and South (31%) are more likely to say immigration is the biggest U.S. problem than are those living in the Midwest (25%) and West (22%). Southern residents have typically been most likely to regard immigration as the top issue.

More See Illegal Immigration as a Critical U.S. Threat

A separate question in the survey finds a record-high 55% of U.S. adults, up eight points from last year, saying that “large numbers of immigrants entering the United States illegally” is a critical threat to U.S. vital interests. The prior high was 50% in 2004.

The vast majority of Republicans already believed illegal immigration was a critical threat; 84% said so a year ago, but the percentage has now reached 90%. A larger increase, from 40% to 54%, has been seen among independents. Far fewer Democrats view illegal immigration as a critical threat, but that percentage is up from 20% in 2023 to 29%.

Continue reading: Gallup.com 

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