“Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government," Sen. Kamala Harris said in a statement

By Maria Pasquini
May 08, 2020 02:34 PM
Advertisement
California Sen. Kamala Harris
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

In an effort to continue to help ease the financial pain millions of Americans are enduring amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, three Democratic senators made a headline-grabbing proposal this week to expand upon the $1,200 stimulus checks many have already received.

On Friday, Democratic Sens. Ed MarkeyKamala Harris and Bernie Sanders introduced a bill that — if passed into law — would set up a monthly payment program for U.S. residents making less than $120,000 a year.

All qualifying residents would be sent $2,000 a month until the pandemic was over, regardless of whether they had a Social Security Number or had paid taxes last year. Additionally, married couples who file taxes jointly would be entitled to $4,000 as well as an additional $2,000 for every child, up to three kids.

The Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act, which would last until three months after the end of the pandemic and is retroactive to March, would also prevent debt collectors from taking payments.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
Scott Olson/Getty Images

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions to struggle to pay the bills or feed their families,” Harris, 55, said in a statement. “Bills will continue to come in every single month during the pandemic and so should help from government.”

“As a result of this horrific pandemic, tens of millions of Americans are living in economic desperation not knowing where their next meal or paycheck will come from,” added Sanders, 78. “The one-time $1,200 check that many Americans recently received is not nearly enough to pay the rent, put food on the table and make ends meet.”

Calling the proposed “recurring monthly payments” the “most direct and efficient mechanism for delivering economic relief to those most vulnerable in this crisis,” Markey also voiced his support for the plan, which they want to pass immediately.

The idea of an additional rounds of checks also has support from Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Last month, representatives Ro Khanna, of California, and Ohio's Tim Ryan introduced the Emergency Money for the People Act, which would provide a $2,000 monthly payment for Americans over the age of 16 for up to a year.

A total of 62 Congress members have also signed a letter in support of monthly payments.

President Donald Trump has previously indicated that “a second round of payments” was “under serious conversation,” although it remains unclear if any legislation can accumulate enough support on both sides of the aisle, as several Republican lawmakers have spoken out against additional payments.

According to The New York Times, the administration is looking at several different large tax cuts.

"There is more help coming," Trump said last weekend. "There has to be."

Within the last seven weeks, the total number of Americans who have filed for initial unemployment surpassed 33.5 million claims, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

As of Friday, there have been at least 1,264,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S.,and 75,746 deaths, according to a Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.