Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Monday proposed giving $1,000 to every American adult as lawmakers scramble to try to bolster the U.S. economy amid growing concerns over the coronavirus.
Romney outlined a handful of proposals on Monday, saying that while the Senate should take up the House-passed coronavirus package, Congress needs to start working on additional steps.
“We also urgently need to build on this legislation with additional action to help families and small businesses meet their short-term financial obligations, ease the financial burden on students entering the workforce, and protect health workers on the front lines and their patients by improving telehealth services,” Romney said in a statement.
The checks would go to every American adult “to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy.”
“Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options,” Romney’s office noted.
Concerns about the worsening coronavirus outbreak in the United States, as well as growing restrictions on American businesses, injected fresh turmoil into the market Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking 2,442 points during intraday trading.
The House passed a second coronavirus package early Saturday morning, but some GOP senators have raised concerns that it doesn’t do enough to help small businesses or get money to Americans to help them cover short-term costs, particularly if they are laid off.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he expected senators would want to move “swiftly” on the House bill, but that discussions were already underway about potential “next steps.”
“Senate Republicans feel strongly that this bill must only be the beginning of Congress’s efforts to support our nation’s economy and stand with American families,” McConnell said in a statement.
Senate Republicans are discussing options including providing help “directly” to Americans, bolstering the country’s economy and small businesses and improving the health care system.
“Discussions are already underway on these key pillars. The Senate is eager to work with the Administration and the House to deliver the solutions our nation deserves,” McConnell added.
Romney is proposing providing grants from the Small Business Administration to help businesses continue to be able to pay employees or make rent as a growing number of cities and states are imposing restrictions on bars and restaurants.
He’s also proposing flexibility for students including allowing Pell Grant awards to be amended based on extra costs students might face because of the coronavirus, and allow deferrals of student loan payments for recent graduates “for a period of time.”
–Updated at 12:28 p.m.