Three senators, including two whose ideas were rejected by voters in the Democratic presidential primary process, are jumping on the bandwagon to give monthly checks to Americans for the duration of the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus and the lockdowns imposed to slow the spread of the disease.
Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Ed Markey of Massachusetts have proposed the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which goes far beyond the initial $1,200 checks sent to tens of millions of Americans in the “phase three” coronavirus relief legislation, according to Politico.
The legislation would send $2,000 a month to single individuals who make under $120,000 a year. Married couples who file their taxes jointly and earn less than $120,000 a year each could get up to $4,000.
The bill also would provide another $2,000 monthly payment for each child for families with three children or less, according to a news release from Harris’ office.
The money would keep flowing until three months after the Department of Health and Human Services makes an official declaration that the current emergency is over.
A similar proposal was put forth in the House last month, with Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California and Tim Ryan of Ohio proposing the Emergency Money for People Act.
The House Democrats’ legislation would give $2,000 a month to every American age 16 and above with an annual income of under $130,000, according to Fox Business. The House bill would up the ante by paying families $500 per child for up to three children, and would be in effect for six months.
“The government has told people we need to shelter in place to keep safe. So it’s the government’s obligation to provide for basic expenses while we’re telling people not to work. It’s really that simple,” Khanna told The Hill.
Some pushed back against the proposed spending spree:
no self respecting American should accept a “relief check” that their grandchildren will have to pay the bill for…
Democrats rally behind monthly $2,000 relief checks https://t.co/TOpg25HYs0
— Ed Matricardi (@EMatricardi) May 9, 2020
Democrats rally behind monthly $2,000 relief checks: Talk about buying elections. I’d like $2,000 but not at the expense the damage it would cost America if Biden gets elected, Keep your money and fire Pelosi…
— Del Henry (@DelHenry6) May 9, 2020
“I think there’s a pause in the formal negotiations. We’re going to take a look at things at the end of May and early June and see where we are in the economy,” White House Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Friday on Fox Business.
Senate Republicans have been cool to another immediate round of direct payments.
“The real stimulus that’s going to change the trajectory that we’re on is going to be the economy, not government checks,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, according to The Hill.
“So I doubt there will be another payment,” he said.
Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said Congress has to play a waiting game, but be ready to act if further direct payments are needed.
“We’re at a point where it’s going to be a discussion point. Because in Wyoming, we’re opening again, many communities are. It’s just a matter of how long it takes to really get the economy open again. If it takes too long, then we’re likely to have to do that,” he said.
Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said the March legislation needs time to percolate through the economy.
“I’m probably not going to be interested in doing anything for a while,” Braun said.
“Whether it’s the payroll tax cut, a round of stimulus checks, I’m thinking $3 trillion has been a pretty good wallop. We need to see how that’s working before, you know, I’m going to be interested in doing anything else.”
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