President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief package that includes a third stimulus check of $1,400, in addition to the $600 direct payment issued last month. But Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts thinks struggling Americans need more cash to weather the ongoing pandemic.
Markey called for Congress to pass his proposal of $2,000 monthly stimulus checks in a statement on Friday.
“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,” the Democrat 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.”
Markey, Sanders and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris introduced a bill last May that would provide $2,000 a month to Americans that earn less than $120,000 for the duration of the pandemic and for three months after the crisis ends. Under the legislation, married couples would get $4,000 a month, and parents and caregivers would be provided with $2,000 per child, with a cap at three children. The proposal would backpay individuals to March 2020.
A recent poll shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans support $2,000 monthly stimulus checks for the duration of the pandemic. In the latest Data for Progress survey of 1,166 likely voters, 65 percent of respondents backed recurring $2,000 direct payments—41 percent “strongly” and 24 percent “somewhat” in support of the proposal. Thirty-two percent “strongly” opposed the ongoing checks.
The senators unveiled the plan on the same day the government released a jobs report for April 2020, which showed 20.5 million jobs lost that month and the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7 percent. At the time, the proposal immediately fell flat with the then Republican-led Senate. However, Markey has renewed his calls for the monthly payments after Democrats secured control of the upper chamber by winning both Georgia Senate runoff elections earlier this month.
With the victories of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock from the runoffs, Democrats will soon have 50 seats in the Senate, and Harris now has the tie-breaking vote.
“I want recurring $2000 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 on January 4.
Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts has also repeatedly called for recurring direct payments to Americans. “The people deserve, demand and require $2,000 recurring monthly survival checks,” she tweeted this week after Biden unveiled his latest stimulus plan.