Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Friday blocked a bill to include $1,200 direct payments to Americans as part of a new round of coronavirus relief, complaining it's too expensive and somehow unfair to people.
"We are mortgaging our children's future, without reforms, without targeting," he said, insisting it was better to deny desperately needed relief to Americans rather than add any more to the national debt.
"We shouldn't be scattering [money] with a shotgun approach," he said Thursday, "just providing all kinds of money to all kinds of people."
"I think this pandemic will be over before more people realize," he added.
Congress is trying to put together some sort of relief bill as time is running out before extended unemployment benefits lapse. The House passed a comprehensive relief bill in May, which included unemployment benefits and additional payments directly to Americans, but the GOP-controlled Senate has refused to even hold a vote on it.
Now, though, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fears that continuing to deny relief to Americans could negatively affect his party's chances in the Jan. 6 runoffs in Georgia, thus costing him control of the Senate. So he and his party have come to the negotiating table, ostensibly ready to make a deal.
But Republicans are still unwilling to provide the full amount of extended unemployment benefits and direct relief that Democrats have been fighting for since May. Thus far, eight million Americans have been forced into poverty during the pandemic as the GOP refuses to pass a coronavirus relief bill. Unemployment claims hit their highest levels in three months on Thursday.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.