Coronavirus: Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders propose $2,000 monthly payments to people during pandemic

The proposed bill would provide Americans who make under $100,000 with additional funding

Danielle Zoellner
Friday 08 May 2020 15:57
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Donald Trump reacts to record US unemployment figures

Three Democratic senators have introduced legislation involving $2,000 monthly payments to individuals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts joined together to introduce a new bill that would put more money in Americans' pockets as the novel virus continues its spread through the US.

In the bill, $2,000 monthly payments would be provided to individuals who make less than $100,000 per year. The amount per month would then decrease up to individuals who make $120,000 per year, where the monthly payments would phase out all together.

Children were also included in the new bill, with families receiving an additional $2,000 per child for up to three children in one household.

If passed, the legislation would backtrack to March when President Donald Trump first declared a national emergency for the pandemic. Monthly payments would cease three months after the president removes the national emergency.

The bill comes after Congress initially passed a stimulus package that provided one $1,200 payment to individuals who made less than $75,000 per year.

The senators argued that the single payment to people was not enough to help with the months-long economic strain of the pandemic.

As of Friday, the unemployment rate soared to 14.7 per cent with more than 20 million people out of work, according to the US Labour Department.

"It's clear that wasn't nearly enough to meet the needs of this historic crisis. Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government," Ms Harris said in a statement.

Mr Sanders also argued that if the federal government could bailout major industries, such as airlines and cruise ships, then it should also put more money towards residents.

"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," he said.

"Providing recurring monthly payments is the most direct and efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most vulnerable in this crisis, particularly low-income families, immigrant communities, and our gig and service workers," Mr Markey added.

Republicans, who currently control the Senate, have been less eager to push forward another stimulus package, specifically when it comes to providing more funding for states.

They have yet to signal if a stimulus package involving monthly payments to individuals would pass, as Congress works through options to help stimulate the economy in the months to come.

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