(UnitedVoice.com) – Support is building in Congress for the government to stimulate the economy and help Americans immediately by sending every adult a $1,000 check. The idea is being considered in response to economic damage as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. A stimulus check proposal for every American is not without precedent, either.
In June 2001, Congress passed The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. It was an income tax designed to stimulate the economy. Instead of people getting a little money back each month in their payroll taxes in the first year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent out refund checks early to taxpayers. Individual filers received $300, married couples $600, and single parents approximately $500.
In February 2008, Congress passed another stimulus measure due to the housing collapse and great recession. Individuals received $600, married couples $1,200, and those with children received $300 per dependent child.
Today, lawmakers want to quickly pass legislation that will provide immediate help to those affected by COVID-19 to limit economic damage.
Major Stimulus Package in the Works
Congress is moving forward on a major stimulus package to help Americans affected by COVID-19. Early Saturday morning, the Democratic-led House passed an initial bipartisan bill. On Monday, the House passed it again to correct a few technical issues with the bill.
Many Republican Senators didn’t think the bill went far enough and are exploring changes to the House bill. Initially, Senators were hearing that there wasn’t enough in the bill to address the issues small business owners face. Now, both sides of the aisle seem to be considering giving cash aid to all Americans.
Chairman of the Economic Policy Subcommittee Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said he is drafting legislation that would provide a cash stipend to workers and their families who are affected by coronavirus. They would also be eligible for the cash if they’re affected by other virus-related shutdowns. Cotton also said his bill would help small and medium-sized businesses.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) tweeted on Monday that every middle and low-income earner should get a $1,000 check “ASAP.”
The pressure on family budgets is only going to get worse as we deal with coronavirus.
Congress should pass a bill sending every middle class and low-income adult an initial check for at least $1,000 ASAP. We can’t leave the hardest-hit Americans behind.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) March 16, 2020
Romney Jumps Onboard
The most visible senator to jump on board with a $1,000 per person check is Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). In addition to other benefits in the House bill, such as paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits, Romney said a check will help fill the gaps quickly for Americans directly impacted by the crisis. Also, Romney said that Congress ought to build up the legislation further with more help for families, small businesses, students entering the workforce, and to protect healthcare workers by improving telehealth services.
White House Negotiations
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow met with various Republican Senate leaders to consider their options on Monday night. Kudlow was asked by a reporter if the White House would support a cash measure. Kudlow said, “we might.”
Options for cash assistance are currently all over the board. Some lawmakers are proposing a one-time $1,000 payment. Others, like Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), are proposing a universal $1,000 monthly check for all Americans for the duration of the crisis.
President Trump has been pushing for a payroll tax cut.
Over the coming days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said a vote will be taken up by the Senate once it receives the House’s bill. As of 8:30 AM on Tuesday, the Senate had not yet received a draft of the House’s final bill.
At this point, it appears all options are on the table.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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