Two Democratic senators, along with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have introduced a bill to give Americans $2,000 checks every month throughout the duration of the coronavirus crisis, as proposals for stimulus payment programs float on Capitol Hill.
Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts teamed up with the self-described democratic socialist to roll out their plan on Friday, which would massively expand on the bipartisan $1,200 one-time stimulus checks passed in the $2.2 trillion CARES package.
“The CARES Act gave Americans an important one-time payment, but it’s clear that wasn’t nearly enough to meet the needs of this historic crisis. Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government,” Ms. Harris said in a statement.
The $2,000 checks would be sent out on a monthly basis for anyone making under $120,000 throughout the crisis and extend three months afterward. Married couples would receive $4,000 and families would get $2,000 per child for up to three children.
The payments would be retroactive to March.
“Providing recurring monthly payments is the most direct and efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most vulnerable in this crisis, particularly low-income families, immigrant communities, and our gig and service workers,” Mr. Markey, Massachusets Democrat, said.
Mr. Sanders said if Congress can “bail out corporations” the checks should be a priority as well.
There have been several proposals put forward in the House.
Democratic Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Ro Khanna of California introduced a similar bill in mid-April. Any American age 16 and up would be eligible for the $2,000 monthly payments and married couples earning up to $260,000 could get $4,000. Eligible families would receive $500 per child, for up to three children.
Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramilla Jayapal of Washington and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan introduced a proposal that would give every American $2,000 a month during the pandemic and $1,000 for an entire year once the crisis abates.
Reps. Madeline Dean of Pennsylvania and Don Beyer of Virginia sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy last month proposing an additional one-time check of $2,000 immediately, excluding “higher-income taxpayers.” Their plan would provide an additional $1,500 is the crisis stretches into July and quarterly $1,000 payments depending on unemployment.
Mrs. Pelosi said she’s been considering the idea of more checks.
Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill have been hesitant to pass anymore big-budget coronavirus legislation until the other four have had a chance to impact the economy. They’ve also insisted that any new bills include liability protection for business owners.
President Trump was open to the idea of another round of stimulus checks last month, but has since returned to his idea of a payroll tax cut.
Democrats have been preparing their CARES 2 package, but Mrs. Pelosi said she isn’t negotiating with the White House and Senate Republicans up front this time.