Democrats rally behind monthly $2,000 relief checks
Democrats are rallying behind a plan to give most Americans monthly $2,000 relief checks during the coronavirus crisis, an issue that’s popular with the liberal base and American voters amid widespread economic damage from the deadly pandemic.
There’s no guarantee the costly proposal will make it into the final coronavirus package that will eventually be negotiated by the Trump administration and Democratic leaders.
Republicans, who control the Senate, are balking at the idea even as the president concedes more aid may be needed for workers.
But on a call with Democrats this week, sources said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed the monthly relief checks – the greatest indication yet that she could include the plan in the CARES 2 package that House Democrats plan to unveil in the coming days.
“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,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a progressive leader who has authored legislation calling for more relief checks, told The Hill.
“We need $2,000 a month for families struggling to pay the bills,” he added.
The idea builds off the initial $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which gave most Americans one-time stimulus checks of up to $1,200, plus more money for each dependent, and has been gaining momentum among Democrats on both sides of the Capitol.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) have teamed up on the ABC Act that would give every American $2,000 a month for the duration of the crisis, and $1,000 a month for an entire year after the crisis ends.
Similar legislation offered by Khanna, who was co-chairman of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), would be based on means testing. The Emergency Money for the People Act would give a $2,000 monthly payment to individuals making less than $130,000 a year, or $4,000 a month for couples making less than $260,000 annually.
Reps. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee, are calling on Pelosi to include their plan in the next coronavirus bill. It calls for an additional one-time $1,500 payment and possible $1,000 quarterly payments based on certain “triggers,” including high unemployment.