Pelosi: Minimum guaranteed income may now be ‘worthy of attention’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday expressed openness to a minimum guaranteed income to help keep people hit by the coronavirus shutdowns financially afloat.
Pelosi said during an interview on MSNBC that she thinks the financial aid established by the coronavirus relief package enacted into law last month should be extended in some form.
“Well, I think we should extend the time, I really do. I always thought that was too short a time. I think we should extend the time,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle.
“Others have suggested a minimum income for — a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so, because there are many more people than just in small business and hired by small business, as important as that is to the vitality of our economy, and other people who are not in the public sector to meeting our needs in so many ways that may need some assistance as well,” Pelosi said.
The law created a small-business loan program, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as authorizing one-time direct payments to individuals of up to $1,200.
Individuals who make up to $75,000 annually are eligible for a $1,200 payment, while those making up to $99,000 can receive a prorated amount. Families are also eligible for an additional $500 per dependent child. The IRS began issuing the payments earlier this month.
Lawmakers have been calling for the next coronavirus relief package considered by Congress to extend the direct payments, which some argue should be paid out on a continuous basis until the crisis is over.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has proposed that the federal government pay 80 percent of workers’ wages, up to the national median wage, until the crisis ends, similar to what some European governments have been doing to help mitigate the economic damage.
Some Democrats, meanwhile, have offered proposals to cover wages or expand individual payments. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has introduced a bill to cover wages for workers earning salaries of up to $100,000 and cover essential business expenses such as rent, while Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) have called for ensuring that adults making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month.