Bernie Sanders Won’t Help Josh Hawley After Capitol Riot


When Senator Josh Hawley voiced his support late last year for giving millions of Americans checks for $ 2,000, he said he got a call from Senator Bernie Sanders’ camp. What happened next was the formation of one of the strangest political couples on Capitol Hill, when the Trump Republican from Missouri and the Democratic Socialist from Vermont joined forces to make a very public effort for a shared priority.

That partnership could have continued last week, with another announcement from Hawley putting him in league with Sanders and other progressives – his support for requiring companies with revenues of $ 1 billion or more to pay their workers a minimum wage of $ 15 per hour.

But of course something pretty big has happened since Hawley and Sanders first joined forces. The Missouri Republican was a major backer and amplifier of former President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories that he unfairly lost the 2020 election – theories that fueled the deadly assault on the US Capitol by a pro-mob. Trump on January 6. In the photograph, Hawley was photographed raising his fist in solidarity with those gathered outside the Capitol that morning. When the Senate met after the mob was cleared, Hawley was the only senator who spoke in favor of opposing the Electoral College certification.

So when Hawley unveiled his minimum wage plan on Friday, he followed no apparent public or private effort to collaborate with progressives. There was no sequel to the fight for the $ 2,000 checks. Hawley told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that he had not received a call from Sanders or any Democratic colleague about the proposal or spoken to any of them about it. Meanwhile, Sanders declined to say whether he had even spoken to Hawley, saying only in response to questions that Democrats had gone from an effort to force companies to pay a $ 15 salary on their COVID bill. A source close to Sanders confirmed that the two men did not speak about the proposed amendment to require companies to pay a minimum wage of $ 15.

I don `t believe [Democrats] I particularly want to work with anyone.

Josh hawley

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

But that does not seem to be the case.

Senator Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat who won his Senate race on the same day that Hawley encouraged the mob that attacked him, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday: “I’m not going to rule out working with any colleague.” He said he would be willing to consider Hawley’s proposal, adding: “I am encouraged that there is interest among Republican senators in taking steps to increase salaries.”

Since January 6, Democrats have contemplated how they could get back to normal work with the more than 150 Republicans in Congress who voted in favor of the 2020 election results and who spread conspiracies that President Joe Biden somehow did not win fairly. Relations on Capitol Hill, typically friendly, have been strained, with outbursts and personal attacks at committee hearings. Some Democratic lawmakers now maintain lists of who they can and cannot work with, based on votes that took place after the January 6 attack.

But the Hawley case could be unique evidence of the new tense atmosphere on Capitol Hill. For some Democrats, no other high-profile Republican lawmaker is more associated with the events of January 6. Among many, particularly activists, Hawley is now firmly persona non grata, a despicable figure who has earned a career as an outcast. “Josh Hawley has a lot to answer for,” said Joe Sanberg, a California businessman and advocate for raising wages. “I don’t think it’s a relevant part of the conversation about just fighting for the 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 first-year Republican has marked, space that has placed Hawley to find, at times, common ground with progressives.

In addition to the most conspicuous $ 2,000 check campaign and the minimum wage proposal, Hawley has introduced legislation to require some colleges to pay the debts of students who do not pay their loans and bills to control the prices of pharmaceuticals. He has been an outspoken critic of Wall Street and American business, albeit from a conservative perspective, but in ways that found him occasionally striking notes similar to some on the left.

For many progressives who might be willing to agree to some of Hawley’s proposals, caution and skepticism have prevailed over the ambitious senator’s populist proposals. Many have noted that their type of populism is animated by a nationalist and anti-immigration sentiment that they find xenophobic or even racist; others just don’t take their positions too seriously.

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