Senate Democrats will send a letter to the White House on Tuesday urging President Joe Biden to support recurring monthly payments.
The text of the letter appeared in early March, but lawmakers waited to send it out until they had more signatures. In the weeks following the letter’s first report, Senate Democrats nearly doubled their support for recurring monthly payments from 11 supporters to 21, including finance and budget committee chairs.
“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve to be assured that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” said the letter published on March 1. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly – changing legislative deadlines and ad hoc solutions.”
Ashley Schapitl, a spokesperson for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, confirmed to Newsweek that the letter would be sent to Biden on Tuesday and that it would contain 21 signatures.
Among those who signed the letter unveiled on March 1 were Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (DN.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) And Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Originally written on March 1, lawmakers called on Biden to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment extensions tied to economic conditions in his Build Back Better plan. They emphasized the effectiveness of payments when issued together, as direct payments can offer support to “families in difficulty” who are not eligible for unemployment.
Tying payments to economic conditions, known as “automatic stabilizers,” would give families “confidence that more relief will come,” Senate Democrats say. It would also eliminate the need for negotiations in Congress, as the terms of payments would already be set.
Automatic stabilizers bring “calm” to the political environment, said Brian Kench, dean of Pompea College of Business at New Haven University. Newsweek in August because it is the “law of the land”. Unemployment insurance is already a form of automatic stabilizer, because a person can only benefit from it if they have been laid off. However, lawmakers could expand this to include enhanced benefits if a certain clearly defined economic trigger occurs, such as unemployment that exceeds a certain percentage.
“You get to decide what goes into effect when. This allows the aid to reach the people who need it most and it is also automatically reversed,” Kench said. “It’s a more rational solution to things you might implement during a crisis that takes politicians out of history.”
Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) Also signed the letter calling for recurring payments, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Vice President Kamala Harris. Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) Picked Padilla to complete the remainder of Harris’ tenure following Biden’s election victory, but while still in the Senate she pushed for recurring payments.
Harris, Markey and Sanders co-introduced the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act in May, which would send monthly checks of $ 2,000 to Americans “who are struggling to make ends meet.” If the measure had taken effect, people with incomes below $ 120,000 would receive payments of $ 2,000 each month retroactively to March 2020 and for three months after the end of the pandemic.
In January, 53 House Democrats wrote a letter to Biden and Harris, asking them to consider including recurring cash payments in future economic relief plans.
Americans have received three stimulus checks since the start of the pandemic, and each payment has been more difficult to pass through Congress than the last. Republicans pushed back on the original plan for the third stimulus check, saying getting them into recurring payments will be an uphill battle.