A trio of senators is introducing legislation to provide $2,000 in monthly payments during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, from Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisSenate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam House passes bill to compensate 'Havana syndrome' victims Harris 'deeply troubled' by treatment of Haitian migrants MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Pelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill top line higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war MORE (I-Vt.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyWarren, Bush offer bill to give HHS power to impose eviction moratorium Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch MORE (D-Mass.), would provide a $2,000 monthly payment to individuals who make up to $100,000 per year. The amount would then be scaled down until it hit an income cap of $120,000 per year for an individual, where it would be phased out altogether.
Under the bill, a $2,000 monthly payment would also be given per child, up to three children. The legislation would be retroactive to March, the same month President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE declared a national emergency, and would provide the monthly payments until three months after the administration ends the public health emergency.
The push for additional payments comes after the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that passed Congress in March provided a $1,200 check for individuals who make up to $75,000.
But senators argued that the one-time payment is not enough to assist people through the months-long pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the nation's economy.
"It’s clear that wasn’t nearly enough to meet the needs of this historic crisis. Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government," Harris said in a statement.
Sanders added that the direct assistance provided under the coronavirus package was "not nearly enough."
“If we can bail out large corporations, we can make sure that everyone in this country has enough income to pay for the basic necessities of life," he said.
Though Republicans haven't signaled support for another round of checks — and have called for a "pause" before passing additional legislation — the idea of providing a monthly payment for the duration of the coronavirus has growing support among Democrats. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power MORE (D-Calif.) and other lawmakers voiced support for the idea during a conference call this week, and Sanders has previously pitched a $2,000 monthly payment.
“A single check is not sufficient for households that are struggling during this health and economic crisis. Americans need more than just one payment," Markey said.
To help ensure that the payments go to every U.S. resident, the Treasury Department could use information from tax returns or information provided by other state and federal agencies.
The bill would also prohibit the monthly payments from being seized by debt collectors amid reports and pushback from lawmakers that the one-time checks under the March coronavirus bill could be subjected to private debt collection.
Harris led a letter last month urging Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE to draft regulations that would prevent private debt collectors from being able to garnish the coronavirus payments.