White House Urges Senate Republicans to Include Stimulus Checks in COVID Relief Bill

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The White House is pushing Senate Republicans to include $600 direct payments to Americans as part of a new round of coronavirus relief legislation, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

President Trump has expressed support for direct payments of as much as $2,000, one person with knowledge of the matter told the Post.

The current relief proposal under consideration by Congress would cost $908 billion and does not include stimulus checks. However, Senators Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have pushed for direct payments as part of any new relief package.

Hawley spoke with the president regarding the issue 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 told Politico.

Negotiations over a new round of coronavirus relief have been stalled since the summer, with House Democrats advocating aid to state and local governments and Senate Republicans backing liability protections for businesses. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) suggested on Tuesday that the parties pass a bill only on the issues they agree upon before the Biden administration comes into office.

“What’s the way forward? We know the new administration is going to be asking for another package,” McConnell said. “What I recommend is we set aside liability and set aside state and local and pass those things that we can agree on knowing full well we’ll be back at this after the first of the year.”