House Democrats have introduced legislation that would expand the federal government’s coronavirus relief cash payments to $2,000 a month until the economy recovers.
On Wednesday, Americans who qualify started getting one-time checks from the Treasury Department of up to $1,200 per adult depending on their incomes.
But Democratic Reps. Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Ro Khanna (Calif.) introduced a bill on Tuesday that would expand the payments to $2,000 on a monthly basis until employment returns to pre-crisis levels.
They argued that the expansion is necessary to keep up with the growing number of Americans facing layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts due to the pandemic shutting down much of the economy.
“As millions of Americans file for unemployment week over week, we have to work quickly to patch the dam — and that means putting cash in the hands of hard-working families,” Ryan said in a statement.
“A one-time, twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it,” Khanna added.
Under their proposal, every American age 16 older making less than $130,000 annually would receive at least $2,000 per month, while married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive at least $4,000. Families would also be eligible for an additional $500 for each child, up to $1,500.
People would be able to receive the payments through mobile applications like Venmo, PayPal or Zelle, in addition to direct deposit or checks.
The proposal from Ryan and Khanna goes much further than the payments established by the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package that was signed into law last month.
Under the current law, people will get a check of up to $1,200 if they earn $75,000 or less annually. Individuals making up to $99,000 annually will get checks prorated on a sliding scale.
Married couples can get up to $2,400 if their joint income is less than $150,000 per year, or smaller prorated checks for incomes up to $198,000. Families will also receive $500 per child.
The Democrats’ bill would ensure that college students would qualify for the payments, as well as adults with disabilities who are claimed as dependents.
The IRS is already issuing direct deposit payments to people who have bank account information on file with the agency. Others will receive the check by mail in the coming weeks.
Ryan and Khanna previously introduced legislation that would provide checks for the rest of the year ranging from $1,000 to $6,000 for those earning less than $65,000.