More than 50 House lawmakers have written a letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris, to include recurring direct stimulus payments in the legislation.
President Biden recently requested $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief funding, which includes a third stimulus check pegged at $1,400 as part of the new administration’s effort to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But some Democratic lawmakers are pushing for an even bigger recurring payment: $2,000 monthly payments until the end of the pandemic.
In the January 28 letter, the lawmakers, led by Rep. Ilhan Omar, argued that “one more check is not enough” to see struggling families through the pandemic.
“One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis,” they wrote. “Many families cannot afford to wait for 8 months between payments,” they added, referring to the fact that the first round of stimulus checks under the CARES Act in 2020 went out in March and it was late December before additional direct payments were sent to Americans.
“The stunning financial crisis for those at the bottom of the income ladder demands massive relief to those who need it most,” the lawmakers wrote. “Recurring direct payments until the economy recovers will help ensure that people can meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession.”
“To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief — they cannot be at the mercy of congressional gridlock,” the lawmakers stated.
While the letter did not specify an amount for the recurring stimulus checks, Rep. Omar tweeted on Thursday that she would like to see payments of $2,000 per month until the global health crisis has ended.
$2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over. https://t.co/6tuia6prFJ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 28, 2021
According to the Washington Post, some senior Democratic lawmakers are crafting legislation that would send monthly checks to American families as part of the Biden’s relief plans, through a major expansion of the child tax credit. One version of the plan would send $300 to families every month for every child under age 6 and $250 every month for every child between the ages of 6 and 17 for one year.
A recurring stimulus payment is a familiar proposal for the Vice President Kamala Harris, who introduced a bill in the Senate last year to provide $2,000 recurring monthly stimulus checks to people below a certain income level in the US until the pandemic is over.
“Together, with Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, I’m proposing that we have not just that one-time check of $1,200,” Harris told MSNBC host Chris Hayes I July last year . “Through the course of this pandemic and crisis, we need to give people $2,000 a month as recurrent payments—people below a certain income level—to help them and sustain them through these months of crisis so at the end of it, they can get back up on their feet instead of falling deep deep deep into the crevices of this crisis.”
Although the bill failed, those who supported the proposal note that financial hardship remains widespread in the US several months after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the economy.
A recent economic review by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found that one-third of American adults are struggling to pay their monthly bills. Those affected more by the pandemic are the low-wage workers in service industries such as those in restaurant and retail jobs, the report stated.
So far, the federal government has only sent two direct payments to most low-income and middle-class families to cushion the effect of the pandemic. Eligible adults were sent a $1,200 check each last year, while $600 checks were sent to each person earlier this month.
Some economists have argued that direct stimulus payments are not as effective in boosting the economy as other forms of relief, such as unemployment benefits and food stamps.