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Growing Coalition of Lawmakers Push for Recurring Stimulus Payments

Even before many Americans have received the latest round of cash doled out by Congress and the Biden administration, some lawmakers are calling for recurring payments until the economy fully recovers from COVID-19.

Sixty-four federal legislators have said they support some form of recurring payments, according to Newsweek.

A letter calling for recurring stimulus checks signed by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota along with 52 others argues something needs to be done to help non-white Americans in particular.

“Worsening systemic inequities, such as food insecurity and housing instability, are most severe for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, who are suffering higher infection and mortality rates of COVID-19 and higher unemployment levels, compared to white Americans,” the letter said.

The letter said that the first round of payments — when the CARES Act dished out $2,000 checks — “was used very quickly, with lower-income individuals spending more than forty percent of their payments within the first ten days. As aid ran out, up to eight million people, disproportionately Black and Latino adults and children, were forced into poverty.”

“The stunning financial crisis for those at the bottom of the income ladder demands massive relief to those who need it most. Recurring direct payments until the economy recovers will help ensure that people can meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession,” the letter said.

“As we look at the coming year, another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out, families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities. One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis. Many families cannot afford to wait for 8 months between payments.”

“To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief – they cannot be at the mercy of Congressional gridlock,” the letter stated.

Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York; Cori Bush of Missouri; David Cicilline of Rhode Island; Pramila Jayapal of Washington; Ro Khanna of California; Ted Lieu of California; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; Jamie Raskin of Maryland; and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan were among the signers.

A separate letter from 11 Senate Democrats called for more money beyond the American Rescue Plan’s $1,400 direct payments.

The letter offered a similar rationale — that if families know there is a steady stream of federal cash coming, they can better plan for how to spend it.

“Automatic stabilizers will give families certainty that more relief is coming, allowing them to make the best decisions about how to spend their relief payments as they receive them,” the Senate letter said.

“Families shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough money to pay for essentials in the months ahead as the country continues to fight a global pandemic. Almost six in ten people say the $1,400 payments set to be included in the rescue package will last them less than three months,” the letter said.

Signers of the letter included Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon; Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Cory Booker of New Jersey; Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also signed the letter.

Story cited here.

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