- According to a new book, Sanders was first hesitant to collaborate with Hawley on the drive for $1,200 stimulus checks.
- The two linked together in December 2020 to help Americans who were struggling during the first year of the pandemic.
During the early months of the coronavirus epidemic in 2020, most lawmakers realized that the economy would necessitate federal action.
While many politicians pushed for $2,000 monthly checks for the duration of the pandemic, including independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and then-Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California, lawmakers settled on a single $1,200 stimulus payment early that year, as well as increased unemployment insurance for Americans who had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus.
Sanders proposed another $1,200 payment for Americans in December 2020, when lawmakers sought an agreement for extra relief for Americans. He was joined in the campaign by Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, much to many people’s astonishment, especially in Washington, DC.
According to a new book by former deputy campaign manager Ari Rabin-Have, while Sanders had worked with legislators from both political parties over his long congressional career, he didn’t know Hawley well. He had doubts about joining up with the conservative member at first.
According to Rabin-book, Havt’s “The Fighting Soul: On the Road with Bernie Sanders,” Sanders had reservations about teaming up with Hawley but eventually wanted to aid Americans in need.
“In Missouri Republican senator Josh Hawley, we found an unlikely ally,” Rabin-Have writes. “Bernie was initially apprehensive. He didn’t know Hawley well and didn’t have much faith in him. And Hawley has a hidden agenda, clearly employing populist rhetoric and dabbling in populist policy to fuel a future presidential campaign as a more adept version of Donald Trump.”
“In the end, Bernie concluded it was worth working with Hawley if we thought it could make a difference for Americans,” he continued, “even if he was wary of elevating Hawley.”
Sanders and Hawley eventually continued their campaign to secure additional $1,200 checks for Americans, generating a lot of media attention.
“We went ahead with the bill, with Hawley and Bernie introducing it and giving floor speeches on the matter. We gave the media plenty of access since they couldn’t resist a story about unusual bedfellows, “Rabin-Have penned the piece.
He said, ” “Both President-elect [Joe Biden] and Donald Trump’s government have expressed support for direct aid. Direct payments were a no-no for moderates when Bernie and Hawley started working together. The payments became unavoidable when the relief package through the chamber the week before Christmas.”
While the second payment amount for individuals was reduced to $600 as a compromise — and signed into law by Trump weeks before he left office — Sanders and the newly-empowered Democratic Senate majority went on to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law by Biden in March 2021.
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The bill featured a $1,400 stimulus check for Americans, which, when combined with the $600 payments set to be issued at the end of 2020, resulted in a $2,000 payout, which Sanders had long agitated for during the pandemic.