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Hawley calls for Congress to pass emergency COVID-19 bill

Estimated $2 trillion plan pending
Posted: 7:48 PM, Mar 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 20:49:00-04
Josh Hawley

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri's junior senator is calling on Congress to pass a roughly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.

Sen. Josh Hawley said the plan includes direct payments to individuals and families.

According to NBC News, individuals making up to $75,000 annually would receive a check or direct deposit in their bank accounts for $1,200.

Couples making up to $150,000 annually could receive $2,400 and $500 for each child in the household.

"So upper income folks won't get it, and that's as it should be,” Hawley said. “They don't need the assistance, but middle class, working class folks who need the assistance will get it.”

Additionally, there's $350 billion for small business relief and $240 billion for health care relief, including $75 billion for hospitals.

However, it's not quite a done deal yet.

Hawley said he hopes the money can be sent out as quickly as possible.

"I hope it will be just a matter of weeks,” Hawley said. “Obviously, speed is critical here, and so the sooner it gets out the door, the better. By the way, that's why we need to get this bill adopted. Nothing can happen until we pass it, and the president signs it.”

Some stumbling blocks to passage have apparently been ironed out.

Democrats, according to NBC News, asked for and were able to get provisions that would require both a congressional panel and an inspector general to provide oversight over a $500 billion loan program to corporations.

Democrats also negotiated the direct funding to hospitals as part of the health care relief.

Republicans complained they were close to a deal only to have Speaker Nancy Pelosi return from California and add provisions to the House bill, including a bailout for the U.S. Post Office, same-day voter registration, expansion of wind and solar tax credits and money for Planned Parenthood.

Republicans balked that those provisions had little or nothing do with the emergency relief package.

In addition to his call to pass the relief bill, Hawley is calling for an international commission to hold the Chinese Communist Party, which runs the government, responsible for the pandemic.

"If they had allowed their own doctors to do their job, if they had shared their information with the world, if they had imposed travel restrictions earlier – They didn't do any of that stuff,” Hawley said. “For weeks, they sat on this, depressed the evidence while the virus spread and spread and spread and now they're trying to blame the United States. It's insane.”

Hawley said the Chinese government should pay part of the costs the U.S. and the rest of the world is paying to deal with the virus.