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Bernie Sanders won’t help Josh Hawley after Capitol riot

WWhen Senator Josh Hawley expressed support late last year for giving checks for $ 2,000 to millions of Americans, he said he got a call from Senator Bernie Sanders’ camp. What next was the formation of one of Capitol Hill’s odd political couples, as the Trumpist Republican of Missouri and the Democratic Socialist of Vermont united to lobby very publicly for a common priority.

That partnership could have continued last week, with another announcement from Hawley that placed him in the league of Sanders and other progressives: his support for demanding companies with revenues of $ 1 billion or more to pay their workers. workers a minimum hourly wage of $ 15.

But of course, something pretty big has since Hawley and Sanders first joined . The Missouri Republican was one of the main proponents and amplifiers of former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories that he unfairly lost the 2020 election – theories that fueled the murderous assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob pro-Trump on January 6. photograph, Hawley was pictured raising his fist in solidarity with those gathered outside the Capitol that morning. When the Senate convened after the crowds had been released, Hawley was the only senator to speak out in favor of opposing the Electoral College certification.

So when Hawley launched his minimum wage plan on Friday, no apparent public or private effort to collaborate with progressives followed. There was no follow-up to the fight for the $ 2,000 checks. Hawley told the Daily Beast on Tuesday that he had not received any calls from Sanders or a fellow Democrat about the proposal or spoken to any of them. Sanders, meanwhile, declined to say if he had even spoken to Hawley, saying only in response to questions Democrats had moved on from an effort to force companies to pay a $ 15 salary into their COVID bill. A source close to Sanders the pair had not spoken about the proposed amendment to require companies to pay a minimum wage of $ 15.

I do not think so [Democrats] especially want to work with anyone.

– Josh hawley

When asked if the Democrats wanted to work with him right now, Hawley said, “I don’t think they particularly want to work with anyone.”

But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Senator Jon Ossoff – the Democrat from Georgia who won his Senate race the same Hawley cheered on the mob that attacked him – told the Daily Beast on Tuesday, “I’m not going to rule out working with colleagues. ” He said he would be open to considering Hawley’s proposal, adding: “I am encouraged that Republican senators are interested in taking action to raise wages.”

Since January 6, Democrats have considered how they could once again work normally with the more than 150 Congress Republicans who voted to oppose the 2020 election results and who spread plots that President Joe Biden did not did not win fairly. Relations on Capitol Hill, generally chummy, have been strained, with outbreaks and personal spilling out during committee hearings. Some Democratic lawmakers are now keeping lists of who they can work for and who they can’t, based on votes that took place after the Jan.6 attack.

But Hawley’s case could be a unique test of the tense new atmosphere on Capitol Hill. For some Democrats, no other top GOP lawmaker is more associated with the events of January 6. Among many, especially activists, Hawley is now firmly persona non grata – a contemptible figure who has fully earned a career as an outcast. “Josh Hawley has a lot to answer,” said Joe Sanberg, a California businessman and advocate for wage increases. “I don’t think he’s a relevant part of the conversation about the fair fight for minimum wage for 22 million people who make less than $ 15 an hour.”

But few, if any, occupy the space on the political spectrum that the freshman Republican has staked out – space that has allowed Hawley to, on occasion, find common ground with progressives.

In addition to the more booming $ 2,000 check campaign and the minimum wage proposal, Hawley introduced a law requiring some colleges to pay off the debts of students who fail to repay their loans and bills to curb student prices. pharmaceutical products. He’s been an open critic of Wall Street and corporate America, albeit from a conservative standpoint, but in a way that has caused him to occasionally strike notes similar to some on the left.

For many progressives who might be inclined to accept some of Hawley’s proposals, distrust and skepticism of the ambitious senator’s populist overtures prevailed. Many have noted that his brand of populism is driven by a nationalist and anti-immigration sentiment which they find xenophobic and even racist; others just don’t take his positions too seriously.

“I’ve always been extremely skeptical about this,” said Marshall Steinbaum, a of economics at the University of Utah who focuses on issues of inequality, labor and antitrust. “This is not about making common cause with strange political comrades… I am definitely of the opinion that having Hawley in a putative coalition discredits that coalition.

But other Democrats have hailed the emergence of Republicans who could, potentially, help them advance worker-friendly economic policies they have campaigned on for years. Clearly, Sanders previously believed that working with Hawley could help bring direct relief to those hard hit by the pandemic. “We are working on bipartisan legislation,” Sanders said in a speech by the Senate in December. “And Senator Hawley has done a very, very good job on this.”

Hawley, meanwhile, sharply criticized the “radical left”. But when the partnership with Sanders emerged last year, he told reporters, “Hey, like I said, I’ll work with anyone.”

Senators’ efforts on stimulus checks have prompted commentators to raise eyebrows – at an “emerging left-right populist alliance,” as The Washington post Sargent said so. In the end, the bill passed on Dec. 26 fell well short of what the duo had asked for, with direct checks of just $ 600, and a stand-alone ground vote on the $ 2,000 checks they were clamoring for. later was blocked by the Senate leadership of the GOP. But that full amount will almost certainly come to an end, with Democrat-controlled Congress due to send $ 1,400 in direct payments as part of a new relief plan this month.

He has terrible judgment. He always tries to move where he thinks the political winds are – when you move with political winds without any moral center, it takes you right into the hurricanes.

– Joe Sanberg, defender of the minimum wage

The new relief round was still an abstraction when Capitol Hill was broken up on Jan.6, the same Democrats sealed a majority in the Senate. In the wake, seven Senate Democrats called on the Senate Ethics Committee to open an investigation to get a “full account” of Hawley’s role, and that of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), in the events. of the . Arguing that they had “given the mob cause legitimacy and made future violence more likely,” the senators said the body needed to determine whether Republicans had violated the rules and therefore deserved punishment – including ‘expulsion. Sanders was not on the letter.

In response, Hawley accused the Democrats of trying to “undo” it and filed his own complaint with the ethics committee over their letter.

The Missouri senator played virtually no role in shaping the COVID relief plan that developed after Biden took office. Most Senate Democrats have avoided declaring that they will never work with him again, but no one is rushing to work with him.

Hawley has nonetheless tried to get some of the ongoing stimulus action, particularly on minimum wage, which has become a key part of the current back-up plan. In addition to proposing a requirement for “billion dollar” companies to pay an hourly wage of $ 15, Hawley launched what he called the “Blue-Collar Bonus,” a tax credit intended for to give small business workers a way to get to the $ 15. threshold, at government expense. Critics responded that the structure of his plan would give companies huge loopholes to avoid paying a fair wage.

He also explicitly excludes non-citizens and undocumented workers – a non-rookie for Democrats, and a sign for progressives like Sanberg that it is impossible to take any good in Hawley’s proposals without also taking the bad. “He has terrible judgment. He always tries to move where he thinks the political winds are – when you move with political winds without any moral center, it takes you right into hurricanes, ”he said.

But Pete d’Alessandro, Sanders’ former political adviser in Iowa, said sometimes there was no choice. “Won’t you work with all the senators who think we still have to look at the ?” he told the Daily Beast. “Because there’s more to it than Hawley. If you buy into what Congress is supposed to do, if you pull those buckets, there won’t be a lot of people to work with at any given time.

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