April 15 (UPI) — Two House Democrats introduced a bill calling for payments of $2,000 per month to Americans until unemployment falls to pre-pandemic levels.
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, would make Americans older than 16 and making less than $130,000 per year eligible for payments for at least six months. It also offers $500 per child per month to qualifying families.
The bill, introduced Tuesday, has 17 other co-sponsors. Called the “Emergency Money for the People Act,” it is an expansion of one-time checks of up to $1,200 sent to people through the $2 trillion CARES Act, passed in March.
It also ensures that college students and adults with disabilities can receive payments even if claimed by parents or others as dependents, a feature not found in the CARES Act.
More than 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits in a week, the Labor Department said on April 9, as 43 states issued stay-at-home orders because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The figures came atop nearly 10 million unemployment claims in the final two weeks of March.
“A one-time, $1,200 check isn’t going to cut it,” Khanna said. “Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work. Members on both sides of the aisle are finally coming together around the idea of sending money out to people. Rep. Ryan and I are urging leadership to include this bill in the fourth COVID relief package to truly support the American working class.”
The bill specifies that money would be transferred through checks, direct deposit or mobile apps.
“The economic impact of this virus is unprecedented for our country. 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 on his website. “Many Ohioans are just receiving, or about to receive, the first cash payment we passed in the CARES Act. Now it’s time for Congress to get to work on the next step to provide relief for those who have been hardest hit in this pandemic.”