Hawley urged Trump to veto coronavirus deal without direct payments

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Monday said he urged President Trump to veto any coronavirus agreement that doesn’t include another round of direct payments to Americans.

“I’m continuing to be flummoxed as to why there aren’t any direct payments. Everybody supported this in March. It’s the most useful, helpful and frankly popular aspect. So I told him that, and … I encouraged him to veto it,” Hawley said about his conversation with Trump, which took place over the weekend as the president was traveling back from Georgia.

Hawley, viewed as a potential 2024 presidential contender, said he spoke with the president to tell Trump that he was planning to oppose any coronavirus agreement that didn’t include another round of direct payments.

“I just said in general … that I really thought a direct payment to individuals and working families needed to be part of the package. I said that I had said publicly, and I wanted him to hear it directly from me, that unless there were direct assistance included in the bill, whatever bill it may be, that I wouldn’t be able to support it,” Hawley said.

Where things stand: Neither of the two proposals currently being circulated — a GOP-only measure from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and a proposal from a bipartisan group of senators — includes a second round of direct payments. The bipartisan proposal would include a $300-per-week federal unemployment benefit for 18 weeks.