A bill to provide monthly payments of $2,000 to Americans within a certain age and income bracket, proposed by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio., and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., is gaining steam with a batch of new congressional supporters.
The Emergency Money for the People Act, introduced on April 14 with 18 Democratic co-sponsors, would provide monthly checks of $2,000 to every American 16 or older making less than $130,000 a year.
The bill would give an additional $500 for each child up to three children and would last for 6 months, with the option to extend it for another 6 months if the crisis persists.
“Rent is due this week. Utilities are coming up. Americans need to cash, this month, next month, and every month after that until this crisis ends,” Khanna tweeted, “Tim Ryan’s and my plan to send $2k monthly checks would give Americans the cash they need to keep our local economies afloat.”
Since it was introduced, the bill has gained an additional 10 Democratic co-sponsors and has been championed online by progressive groups including supporters of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who proposed a similar concept in his universal basic income proposal.
One of the new co-sponsors, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., on Saturday announced her support of the legislation, tweeting “monthly payments of at least $2,000 during this crisis will provide more security for many families in Oregon and across the country.”
The bill is still in its preliminary stages, however. No Senators have weighed in on it, nor has there been a CBO estimate of its cost.
Stimulus checks have been a common proposal for dealing with the economic downturn spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. The initial iteration of the CARES Act, passed in March, provided a one time payment of up to $1,200 to Americans making less than $99,000, with varying payment amounts based on income and dependency. However, successive bills did not include similar stimulus check programs.
30.3 million. The proposal comes at a time of dire economic straits for Americans, as the US Department of Labor said Thursday that 30.3 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last six weeks.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Passage of the bill may hinge in large part on garnering Republican co-sponsors, in addition to gaining more Democratic ones. Congressional Republicans already expressed their support for some form of direct cash assistance through the passage of the CARES Act, but Ryan and Khanna’s act would constitute a much more comprehensive program.