Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) wants to pay essential workers an up to $12 an hour extra for the next three months as a form of hazard pay for working during the coronavirus pandemic, the senator told The Washington Post Friday.

The big picture: Labor groups have called for hazard pay recently amid concerns that people working during the crisis are putting themselves at risk for the well-being of others. Romney's plan could see some workers make up to $1,920 a month extra, per the Post.

Details: Romney proposes increasing pay from May 1 through July 31. Those earning less than $50,000 per year would receive an additional $12 per hour, and the extra pay would gradually decline as salaries increase.

What he's saying: Romney told the Post the plan is "fiscally responsible but also recognizes the additional risk that people are taking.”

The senator noted that essential workers who make less than $22 an hour could end up making less money than someone earning the unemployment benefits that Congress recently boosted in recent coronavirus aid packages.

  • “That’s not fair, number one,” Romney said. “And number two, it would create an anomaly, of course, for people to be taking additional risk of their health and have someone else not working making more than they are.”

The bottom line: The idea has broad support in Washington—in concept. But it has yet to appear in legislation—$3 trillion so far — aimed at easing the economic and health hardships caused by the coronavirus.

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Updated Aug 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's coronavirus aid action

President Trump speaks to workers at a manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, on Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing President Trump Saturday night for taking executive action on coronavirus aid, with Democratic leaders demanding the GOP return to negotiations after stimulus package talks broke down a day earlier.

Why it matters: Trump could face legal challenges on his ability to act without congressional approval, where the constitutional power lies on federal spending. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the most vocal Republican critic, saying in a statement: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.