Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt summed up on Tuesday the urgency of the economic ailment that coincides with the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are more people out of work today than were out of work on Monday morning,” he said on the Senate floor. “There will be more people out of work tomorrow than there are today.”
He added, “We can have a positive impact on that.”
Still, the urgency and positive impact moved at a glacial pace on Tuesday, a $2 trillion pandemic stimulus package hanging in the balance as leaders in the U.S. Senate negotiated.
Missouri and Kansas lawmakers weighed in.
“(Congress should do) what we can do to keep the doors open, to keep people on the payroll, to have them ready to bounce back the minute the immediate crisis in over,” Blunt, a Republican said.
His Missouri colleague, Sen. Josh Hawley, told News-Press NOW on Tuesday afternoon that his priorities seemed destined for the final bill.
One is a cash payment to American families.
“Every Missourian who needs it will get a $1,200 check … plus $500 for each kid,” he said. “The bigger the family, the more relief you get. Lower-income folks will not be excluded. … You shouldn’t lose this assistance when you need it the most.”
Missouri families should get the check in first week or so in April.
He added that small businesses will get assistance to cover 100% of their payroll and unemployment insurance will be tripled.
Hawley said the enormous price tag can not be a consideration at this time of emergency.
“Since the federal government is the one driving this and asking people to stay at home, asking them to keep social distance, then the federal government needs to make up that loss in economic output for this short-term period,” he said.
In a floor speech, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, also a Republican, said the measure proves especially important in rural states.
“What is so dramatic in rural America is, if we lose a business, the chances of reviving it in the future disappears,” the Kansan said.
“Almost all of our businesses in small towns across Kansas and around the nation are hanging on already by a thread. This is the factor now that may put them out of business … and the chances of them coming back into business when this is over are virtually none.”
Republican Pat Roberts, the senior senator from Kansas, chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, a panel that he said works in a bipartisan fashion. He has not found this in the current negotiations.
“Sometimes you just have to hunker down like a jackass in a hailstorm and just take it,” he said on the Senate floor. “Well, I’m tired of just taking it. I’m tired of the partisanship. I’m tired of all this work that we’ve put together to address what everybody understands is a national pandemic, a world pandemic.”