A stimulus check proposal by three senators aims to offer monthly recurring payments to Americans until the pandemic is over — and for families of five or more, this could mean a monthly payment of $10,000.
The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act was introduced in May by Senators Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey. It did not receive much support when it was introduced. However, support for monthly payments has been rising. In early July, a group of 156 economists wrote an open letter in support of the idea. And now, with Harris on the shortlist for vice president on Joe Biden’s ticket, it’s entirely possible that her plans could come to fruition this fall or in the new year.
In a webcast interview hosted by The Appeal, a news website, Harris addressed fears about how much these monthly payments would cost the U.S. government. She said, per CNBC, “One of the things, first of all, that I find tiring is those who want to suggest, ‘Oh, this is a lot of money,’ when they’re the same people who passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1% and the biggest corporations of America and are going to cause us to face a $1 trillion deficit as a result.”
Here’s what you need to know:
How Much Money Would You Get Each Month From Harris’ Proposed Plan?
Millions of people across our nation are teetering on a cliff right now. Rent is due tomorrow. Bills need to be paid.
We have the answers already but reckless Republicans won't act: recurring $2k payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and nutrition assistance.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 31, 2020
The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act would provide $2,000 per month to individuals and $4,000 to couples, as well as $2,000 per child for up to three children. Anyone earning under $120,000 annually would be eligible for support (a higher salary cap than in the CARES Act), but the payments would be reduced for those with income over $100,000, CNBC reported.
The plan would provide retroactive payments back to March, when the pandemic began. Markey confirmed in August that the retroactive nature of this bill still applies, many months later. He tweeted, “My bill with @kamalaharris and @berniesanders to give everyone $2,000/month until the end of this crisis (and 3 months after) is retroactive to March. Working families deserve this money. Let’s get that $12,000 into their pockets ASAP, and then keep the money flowing.”
This means that families with three or more children could receive tens of thousands of dollars in retroactive payments if this plan were to go into law.
This plan would send a payment to every U.S. citizen, regardless of whether they have a Social Security number or have filed a recent tax return. Debt collectors would not be allowed to seize this money.
How Much Political Support Is There for Monthly Payments?
People are demanding bold action from Congress to help get through this pandemic. I’m pushing for:
-$2,000 monthly payments;
-extended unemployment benefits;
-$125 billion fund for small neighborhood businesses;
-and a stop to evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) July 24, 2020
Three months ago, there was little to no support for the notion of monthly recurring payments for the American people. However, as the pandemic has continued to heavily impact the American economy, keeping businesses shuttered across the nation throughout the summer, more voices are starting to call for monthly payments to keep the American people afloat.
In early July, a group of 156 economists penned an open letter to the U.S. government, urging it to continue providing financial relief to the American people in the form of direct cash payments. A second, third and even fourth round of stimulus payments is “essential,” the group wrote, in order to hasten the country’s economic recovery.
The letter, published on July 11 and titled “Open letter from economists on automatic triggers for cast stimulus payments,” reads in part:
Regular, lasting direct stimulus payments will boost consumer spending, driving the economic recovery and shortening the recession. Right now, most Americans are just trying to keep their heads above water. The first round of economic impact payments were a lifeline that helped some get by for a few weeks — early research shows that people are spending the stimulus checks quickly and on essentials — but the worst is not over. Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of GDP, so reviving the economy will require sustained efforts to strengthen it. Even after businesses start to re-open and jobs begin to come back, there will be significant economic fallout, and demand will continue to lag if people don’t have money to spend. Regular direct stimulus payments tied to economic indicators will help families stay afloat and drive economic activity.
It’s unlikely that any bill with a provision for monthly recurring payments will pass the Republican-led Senate in the next few months. However, it’s entirely possible that this dynamic could drastically shift in November, if Biden wins the election and the Senate shifts towards blue. At that point, if the pandemic is still heavily impacting job numbers in the U.S., people might see a rise in political support for the plan by Harris, Sanders, and Markey.