Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill

Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill
© Greg Nash

A group of more than 50 Democratic lawmakers on Thursday urged congressional leaders to include monthly direct payments in a fourth coronavirus response bill, saying that doing so would be particularly helpful for low-income people.

"Providing recurring monthly payments is the most efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most at-risk in this crisis, particularly low-income communities, gig and service workers, and our immigrant neighbors," the lawmakers wrote in a letter.

The lawmakers who took the lead on the letter include Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisStates respond with force amid another night of protests Protesters knock down White House security barricades as tensions mount over Floyd's death The Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil MORE (D-Calif.), a former presidential candidate, and prominent freshman progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez rips de Blasio after police cruiser drives into crowd of protestors NYPD police cruisers lurch through group of demonstrators protesting Floyd's death States respond with force amid another night of protests MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibPelosi: George Floyd death is 'a crime' Overnight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (D-Mich.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyHouse Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor Democrats blast CDC report on minorities and COVID-19 MORE (D-Mass.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar says some protestors 'felt terrorized by the presence of tanks,' National Guard Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality MORE (D-Minn.).


The letter is the latest in a growing push from many Democrats for additional cash payments for Americans.

The third coronavirus package, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE signed into law late last month and is known as the CARES Act, includes one-time direct payments to many Americans of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. Lawmakers have expressed interest in pursuing additional legislation, but the timing and contents of that measure have yet to be determined.

The Democrats who signed the letter said that "the inclusion of direct assistance in the CARES Act was an important first step, but we must provide workers and families with relief that actually matches the need and scale of this economic and health crisis."

The lawmakers said that many people didn't have enough money to cover unexpected expenses even before the coronavirus pandemic and that low-income people don't have the resources to prepare and protect themselves.

"It is important that we lift-up unbanked and underbanked communities by creating a buffer for people who have seen their costs of living rise for decades as their wages have stagnated," the lawmakers wrote. "Providing recurring payments to everyone in America would help cushion the blows of this global health crisis while chipping away at underlying economic inequalities." 

The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers House punts on FISA, votes to begin negotiations with Senate Rep. Banks launches bid for RSC chairman MORE (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.), and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFederal judges should be allowed to be Federalist Society members Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in VA hospitals mostly drop hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment MORE (D-N.Y.). Pelosi has expressed interest in including additional direct payments in a future coronavirus package.