President Donald Trump is calling for Congress to increase the $600 stimulus for COVID-19 relief to $2,000. His demand is getting a lot of attention, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she’s on board. But the idea was already introduced in a bill seven months ago in May by now-Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Ed Markey. And that bill actually called on giving Americans even more help in the form of a monthly payment.
Harris, Sanders, & Markey Called for a $2,000-a-Month Stimulus in May
Today, I'm introducing the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act to provide $2,000 every month throughout this crisis.
I've been saying it for months: a one-time payment is not enough when millions of people are unemployed and need to eat. We need bold action, immediately.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) May 8, 2020
Harris, Sanders, and Markey introduced a bill in May that sought to give Americans a stimulus that would pay them $2,000 a month, CNBC reported. The payments would be given to people who made $120,000 or less throughout the pandemic crisis. It would continue for three months after the crisis was over and the public health emergency ended. Married couples would have received $4,000 and parents would have received $2,000 per child (for up to three children) in addition to their individual stimulus. The bill also called for the payments to be retroactive to March.
They proposed calling their program the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, Forbes reported. Although anyone making less than $120,000 a year would have been eligible, payments would start phasing out at $100,000, Business Insider reported.
Harris tweeted about the bill at the time, writing on May 8: “Today, I’m introducing the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act to provide $2,000 every month throughout this crisis. I’ve been saying it for months: a one-time payment is not enough when millions of people are unemployed and need to eat. We need bold action, immediately.”
In a statement, Sanders said about the bill: “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.”
In March, Sanders began making the call for $2,000 monthly payments, CNBC reported. He said in a live-streamed speech: “We can do it. We can address this crisis. We can minimize the pain.”
You can read the bill introduced in May here.
Sanders Reminded Trump That He Introduced the Idea of $2,000 Nearly 7 Months Ago
After Congress proposed a $600 stimulus payment, Trump demanded in a Twitter video on December 22 that the amount be raised.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020
He said: “I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2,000, or $4,000 for a couple.”
Pelosi was quick to agree. She tweeted: “Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!”
Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it! https://t.co/Th4sztrpLV
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2020
After Trump’s video, Sanders took to Facebook that night to note that he’s been supporting the idea of $2,000 checks for quite some time.
He wrote: “That’s great! I first introduced a bill to provide a $2,000 direct payment with Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Ed Markey 7 months ago. Now, Mr. President, get Mitch McConnell and your Republican friends to stop opposing it and we can provide working class Americans with $2,000. Let’s do it.”
Earlier in the day, Harris shared that while the relief bill was critical, “our work isn’t over. The American people desperately need more help.”