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Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, and more than 50 other House members, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, are urging the Biden administration to once again consider recurring monthly checks.
“One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis,” they wrote.
“Many families cannot afford to wait for eight 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.”
This might seem like a completely far-fetched attempt but last year current Vice President Kamala Harris introduced a bill in the Senate that would have sent $2,000 a month payments until the pandemic ended.
So it is not like this idea is foreign to the leaders in the White House.
The data shows that many Americans are still struggling to get by.
For example, an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that one-third of adults are struggling to pay their bills. Those in the service industries such as restaurants and retail, have been hit the hardest.
And while unemployment has improved since the outbreak of the pandemic it is still a significant issue for those in the bottom quartile.
“We know there is still an enormous amount of economic suffering going on in our country,” said said Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council under President Clinton and President Obama.
“The top quartile might see unemployment around 5%, but for the bottom quartile, it’s over 20%.” These are depression-level rates.
The letter sent to the White House did not specify an amount for the recurring stimulus payments but Rep. Omar tweeted that she would prefer payments of $2,000/month.
It still does not appear that there is enough support for these recurring stimulus checks to gain traction. If anything, the trend right now appears to be curbing and tailoring the aid to a smaller package.
It’s worth noting though that Democrats are already drafting a bill that would pass stimulus relief through the budget reconciliation route which would not require any Republicans to get on board.
Passing a $1.9 trillion bill that route would upset many Republicans and likely cause a good deal of division.
But passing something like recurring two thousand dollar monthly stimulus checks would be a pretty outrageous move that I don’t think Democrats would be interested in.
So while this sporadic push for recurring payments continues to appear, the traction and momentum required to pass an initiative of this magnitude remains to be found.
Ever since the pandemic broke out and the talks for stimulus relief began, there have been some lawmakers who would prefer to send out monthly stimulus checks until the economy gets back on its feet.
Last May, Bernie Sanders and now Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced a bill that would provide $2,000 a month to Americans.
These payments would go out to those earning under $120,000 and they would be issued every month during the pandemic and for three months after.
(Based on the vaccine distribution projections, the pandemic would probably “end” for all intents and purposes sometime in the late summer or early fall.)
The talk about these recurring payments always seemed to generate a lot of excitement but then would quickly dissipate as talks about the budget grew more serious.
This was especially true when Republicans were in control.
But now, these talks are re-surfacing.
“The $1,400 in direct cash assistance is a down payment that will help families make rent, put food on the table, and pay the utility bills after Senate Republicans blocked that additional funding back in December,” Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said.
“But we must still pass my legislation with Senator Bernie Sanders [of Vermont] to provide $2,000 monthly payments to working people through the duration of the pandemic.”
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the majority of Americans would support recurring $2,000 monthly payments. 65% of poll respondents indicated that they would support them, with 41% offering strong support.
“I want recurring $2,000 survival checks in the hands of the American people. So do 65 percent of Americans. We can and we must get this done,” Markey tweeted.
So could the support of most Americans be enough to get traction for recurring payments?
It’s not as crazy of a question as it would’ve been last summer when Republicans controlled the Senate.
But I still don’t think recurring checks are feasible, and that’s just because they are so expensive.
Most likely, at least 10 Republicans in the Senate will need to get on board with the stimulus proposal and getting them to agree to such an outrageously high expenditure seems extremely unlikely.
Heck, even getting unanimous consent from Democrats on that issue might be problematic since some have voiced opposition to additional checks.
The only scenario where I could see recurring checks going out is if we saw an extremely targeted measure implemented.
And while there has been talk about extremely targeted stimulus check measures, that just doesn’t seem to be something that lawmakers are super interested in pursuing.
So if you hear more about these recurring checks in the coming weeks, I would not be too optimistic about the odds of them passing.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.