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 HarrisButtigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice First presidential debate to cover coronavirus, Supreme Court Harris joins women's voter mobilization event also featuring Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda MORE (D-Calif.), a former presidential candidate, and prominent freshman progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHouse passes bill to avert shutdown Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge MORE (D-Mich.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' Pressley applauded on House floor after moving speech on living with alopecia San Francisco considers changing local voting age to 16 MORE (D-Mass.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise MORE (D-Minn.).

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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 TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate 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 PelosiPelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare House lawmakers reach deal to avert shutdown Centrist Democrats 'strongly considering' discharge petition on GOP PPP bill MORE (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy's Democratic challenger to launch first TV ad highlighting Air Force service as single mother Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill MORE (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Senate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report Trump argues full Supreme Court needed to settle potential election disputes MORE (R-Ky.), and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate Democrats introduce legislation to probe politicization of pandemic response Schumer interrupted during live briefing by heckler: 'Stop lying to the people' Jacobin editor: Primarying Schumer would force him to fight Trump's SCOTUS nominee MORE (D-N.Y.). Pelosi has expressed interest in including additional direct payments in a future coronavirus package.