Democratic senators propose $2,000 monthly payments to most Americans
Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey want to dramatically expand support during the coronavirus crisis.
Sen. Kamala Harris, along with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, wants to drastically increase the amount of money Americans receive to weather the coronavirus crisis. | Andrew Harnik/Getty Images
05/08/2020 05:01 AM EDT
A trio of Democratic senators are pitching a big idea: pay most American families thousands of dollars each month until the coronavirus’s economic crisis subsides.
On Friday, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) will release their Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. It would dramatically expand upon the $1,200 sent to Americans as part of March’s gargantuan coronavirus response bill.
The legislation would send a monthly $2,000 check to people who make less than $120,000. It would expand to $4,000 to married couples who file taxes jointly and also provide $2,000 for each child up to three. Harris said the bill is a reflection that Congress’s efforts so far were not “nearly enough to meet the needs of this historic crisis” and Markey called the massive cash infusion “the most direct and efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most vulnerable.”
“Congress has a responsibility to make sure that every working-class household in America receives a $2,000 emergency payment a month for each family member,” Sanders said.
The payments would be retroactive to March and last until three months after the Health and Human Services Department has declared the public health emergency over. The legislation would also bar debt collectors from taking the payments, and would deliver them regardless of whether people have a Social Security number or filed taxes last year.
The effort from the two former presidential rivals and Markey represents one of the biggest, and likely most expensive, ideas being put forward for the next round of coronavirus relief. Other House and Senate Democrats have proposed federal guarantees for workers’ salaries, and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is pitching having the government subsidize employers’ payrolls to avoid mass layoffs.
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