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 Harris (D-Calif.), a former presidential candidate, and prominent freshman progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (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 Trump 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 Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Pelosi has expressed interest in including additional direct payments in a future coronavirus package.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ayanna Pressley Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Ilhan Omar Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Rashida Tlaib

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