Progressive Democrats in Congress, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), last week proposed legislation—Sending Unconditional Payments to People Overcoming Resistances to Triumph (SUPPORT) Act—that calls for recurring monthly stimulus checks of $1,200 for adults and $600 for children.
For millions of still struggling Americans amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the proposed bill might appear to be meaningful action in Washington. But know that there is a caveat: this legislation won’t put direct cash in the pockets of Americans anytime soon.
The SUPPORT Act is expected to create a $2.5 billion grant fund to initiate a pilot program from 2023 to 2027 in which certain communities would receive the monthly payments. The results from that venture would then kick off the actual program in 2028.
To be eligible to receive the funds, adults are bound by income thresholds, which come in at $75,000 per year or $112,000 annually for heads of households.
“Poverty is a choice. For too long we have prioritized endless growth while millions are homeless, hungry or without health care. The pandemic has laid bare these inequalities. We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing and health care met,” Omar said in a statement.
“Building off successful pilot programs in my home state of Minnesota, I am proud to introduce a guaranteed income that will put money directly into the pockets of Minnesotans, and introduce a holistic economic measure that will ensure our economy is centered on the long-term prosperity of Minnesotans and Americans everywhere. The world needs new economic indicators and economic policies that will prioritize and encourage truly sustainable and equitable growth,” she continued.
Petitions Demand More Money
For months, ordinary cash-strapped Americans also have been demanding more financial assistance. In fact, there are currently more than five online petitions calling for recurring monthly stimulus checks of $2,000 until the health crisis ends. The largest of them is the Change.org petition—which has already garnered more than 2.7 million signatures—that was launched earlier this year by Denver-area restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin.
“I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis. Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table. Our country is still deeply struggling,” the petition states.
“With businesses and schools closing across the country to control the spread of this virus, many people have already lost their jobs. Others are being forced to stay home,” it adds.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.