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

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sen josh hawley

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

Biden spends $1.65 trillion taxpayer dollars while vacationing in St. Croix

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Joe Biden

While vacationing in the island of St. Croix for the holidays, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the massive $1.65 omnibus spending package.

The whopping 4,155 pages was supported by only nine House Republicans and 13 Senate Republicans. Majority of criticism from the GOP includes concerns that the bill was rushed and crammed with wasteful spending by a lame-duck Democratic-dominated Congress. The recourse will punish American families by adding to the national debt and exacerbate inflation.

“Today, I signed the bipartisan omnibus bill, ending a year of historic progress. It’ll invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery, VAWA funding — and gets crucial assistance to Ukraine,” Biden tweeted. “Looking forward to more in 2023.”

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell “praised the bill on the grounds that it represents a real decrease in discretionary spending. He presented it as a positive that nondefense spending jumped by only 5.5 percent, from $730 billion to $772.5 billion, amid an inflation rate of 7.1 percent” writes National Review.

“The bipartisan government-funding bill that Senators Shelby and Leahy have finished negotiating does exactly the opposite of what the Biden administration first proposed,” he said. “This bill provides a substantial real-dollar increase to the defense baseline . . . and a substantial real-dollar cut to the non-defense, non-veterans baseline,” McConnell insisted as negotiations were wrapping up.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, however, stated his strong disapproval of the bill before it even advanced. Affirming a letter from 13 House Republicans, McCarthy demanded the bill is reckless, irresponsible, and a “purposeful refusal to secure and defend our borders.”

For example, it failed to incorporate protections for Title 42, the pandemic policy that allows illegal immigrants to be expelled on a public-health basis, which currently hangs in the balance at the Supreme Court.

National Review adds, “The funding in the bill, which averted a federal government shutdown before the new year, includes an allocation of $45 billion in defense assistance to Ukraine. Some Republican priorities, such as Electoral Count Act reform and a bigger military budget, were nested in with Democratic appropriations, such as increased funding for Medicaid and food stamps.”

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