Washington, D.C. — Two House lawmakers are proposing a bill that would provide $2,000 monthly payments to Americans until employment levels return to pre-coronavirus levels.
The proposal comes as tens of millions await their one-time check from the CARES Act which was passed last month. Many of those same people have ended up on the unemployment line in the past three weeks. It’s clear a one-time payment will not be remotely sufficient. In some places, this doesn’t even cover a month’s rent.
The new bill, named the ‘Emergency Money for the People Act’ is being introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, and Rep. Ro Khanna of California.
In the press release from Khanna on April 14, “A one-time, twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it. Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work. Members on both sides of the aisle are finally coming together around the idea of sending money out to people. We urge leadership to include this bill to truly support the American working class.”
Every American age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month. Married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive $4,000 per month. Families with children would get $500 per child per month for up to three children. Those who are unemployed would be eligible. The money would not be counted as income. That would allow people on income-based government assistance programs to remain on those.
Eligibility would be based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns. The payments would be guaranteed for six months and continue until the employment-to-population ratio is above 60%. The measure would also close a loophole in the CARES Act that would allow college students and adults with disabilities to receive payments even if they are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes.
Ryan and Khanna noted that since the CARES Act was passed, 16.6 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits. “As millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week, we have to work quickly to patch the dam – and that means putting cash in the hands of hard-working families,” Ryan said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a similar measure last month.