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Economy

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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Economy

Psaki Dismisses The Price Of The Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever

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Jen Psaki
Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki minimized the strain that the inflation crisis is putting on Americans as she was asked about President Biden’s decision to go to “a billionaire’s compound in Nantucket” for the most expensive Thanksgiving in history.

“What message does it send to the middle-class Americans President Biden says that he’s trying to help who are struggling this week to cover the cost of the most expensive Thanksgiving ever, that the president is going to take a few days off at a billionaire’s compound in Nantucket?” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked.

“Well, first I would say, I don’t know if you’ve ever cooked a turkey before, but a twenty-pound turkey is a pretty big turkey, I think we can all agree. They’re about $1 more,” Psaki said.

It should be noted that the price of a turkey is 24% more expensive than last year, and the overall Thanksgiving dinner is 14% more expensive.

“So not to minimize that, any increase in prices is something the president is concerned about, as is evidenced by his announcement today and as his efforts to push forward on additional relief for the American people,” Psaki continued. “But I just want to be clear that there’s an abundance of Turkeys available, about $1 more for a 20-pound bird, which is a huge bird, if you’re feeding a very big family and that’s something that again, we’ve been working to make sure people have more money in their pockets to address it as the economy is turning back on.”

While the Biden administration claims they have been working “to make sure people have more money in their pockets,” inflation has resulted in people earning less. According to the Department of Labor, as of October 2021 “real average hourly earnings” and “real average weekly earnings” had decreased 1.2% and 1.6% from last year, respectively.

In contrast, the Trump economy saw an increase in “real average hourly earnings” and “real average weekly earnings” 3.2% and 5.0%, respectively, from pre-pandemic October 2019 to the height of the pandemic in October 2020.

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