April 09, 2020

As Low-Income Communities Struggle, Harris Pushes for Recurring Monthly Payments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and 53 of their colleagues on Thursday sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pushing for recurring monthly cash payments to those most at-risk during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly low-income communities, gig and service workers, and our immigrant neighbors. The bi-cameral group stressed the importance of lawmakers ensuring people are able to meet their basic needs for the duration of this crisis.

“We know that low-income people are disproportionately at risk of being uninsured or underinsured and lack the resources to prepare and protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic. That means a rent increase, an additional childcare bill, a tuition check, or even a blown tire can upset a family’s ability to stock their pantry or seek necessary medical care,” the group wrote.

They continued, “Simply put—people need more money in their pockets, and sending monthly payments to workers and families is the fastest and most direct way to address that need. Now is not a time for timid solutions. In the face of an unprecedented moment in economic history and public health, we need to offer bigger, bolder and far more aggressive policies.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT); and Representatives Alma S. Adams (D-NC), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Judy Chu (D-CA), Katherine M. Clark (D-MA), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), J. Luis Correa (D-CA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Michael San Nicolas (D-Guam), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), José E. Serrano (D-NY), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL).

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.

April 9, 2020

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                          The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Speaker of the House                                      Majority Leader                     

U.S. House of Representatives                       United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510                                  Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy                    The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Republican Leader                                          Minority Leader

H-204, The Capitol                                         United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20515                                Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer,

We write to ask that you center those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by prioritizing recurring direct cash assistance to all as part of a fourth coronavirus response bill. Providing recurring monthly payments is the most efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most at-risk in this crisis, particularly low-income communities, gig and service workers, and our immigrant neighbors. The inclusion of direct assistance in the CARES Act was an important first step, but we must provide workers and families with relief that actually matches the need and scale of this economic and health crisis.

The CARES Act provided a multi-year bail out for large companies, but it provided most American families with only a few months’ worth of assistance, at best. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic claimed millions of jobs, nearly 40% of Americans reported not having enough cash to cover a $400 unexpected expense. Without ongoing and robust direct payments lasting at least the duration of this crisis, we will fail to address the pain our communities are experiencing from this crisis. Additionally, other developed nations have already proven that sufficient, recurring economic relief is possible.

We know that low-income people are disproportionately at risk of being uninsured or underinsured and lack the resources to prepare and protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic. That means a rent increase, an additional childcare bill, a tuition check, or even a blown tire can upset a family’s ability to stock their pantry or seek necessary medical care. It is important that we lift-up unbanked and underbanked communities by creating a buffer for people who have seen their costs of living rise for decades as their wages have stagnated. Providing recurring payments to everyone in America would help cushion the blows of this global health crisis while chipping away at underlying economic inequalities.

Simply put—people need more money in their pockets, and sending monthly payments to workers and families is the fastest and most direct way to address that need. Now is not a time for timid solutions. In the face of an unprecedented moment in economic history and public health, we need to offer bigger, bolder and far more aggressive policies. We thank you for your partnership on these critical issues and look forward to addressing this crisis with the moral clarity and sense of urgency it requires.

Sincerely,

###