As House Democrats coalesce around a proposal for monthly direct cash payments of $2,000 during the coronavirus pandemic, Congressman Tim Ryan made an overture to Fox News listeners on Tuesday for his recent legislation that has attracted progressives and moderate members alike.
“I think this is the best way to stabilise the economy and make sure that everybody is paying their mortgage, paying their credit cards, paying their personal loans ... and all the rest so that they don’t fall behind,” Mr Ryan said on the Fox News Rundown podcast on Tuesday.
Mr Ryan, an Ohio Democrat who briefly ran for president this cycle on a more moderate message than many of his fellow candidates, and Congressional Progressive Caucus member Ro Khanna of California teamed up last month to introduce a bill that would provide $2,000 each month to Americans making less than $130,000 annually. The direct payments would recur automatically for up to six months unless the economy rebounds within that time and reaches certain benchmarks.
The bill, titled the “Emergency Money for the People Act,” has attracted 27 other co-sponsors, ranging from progressives heavyweights Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California and Pramila Jayapal of Washington to moderate New Democrat Coalition members Eliot Engel of New York and Veronica Escobar of Texas.
Mr Ryan conceded on the Fox News podcast on Tuesday that his program likely would run the federal government a monthly tab ”in the trillions,” but argued that ”the only thing that would cost more is to do nothing and let us move from a deep recession into a depression.”
“I mean, it’s a lot of money. I’m not here to backpedal or sugarcoat this thing. It’s a lot of money,” Mr Ryan said. “But the question is — just imagine all of these Americans who can’t pay their mortgage, who can’t pay their auto loan, who will be defaulting on some of these credit cards and all the rest. How are they going to climb out of that?”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, which Ms Jayapal chairs, proposed a similar plan on 9 April, though there are some differences between the two. The CPC’s proposal called for recurring direct cash payments of $2,000 for up to a year, not the six months outlined in Mr Ryan’s bill.
And the progressives’ proposal would give an extra $1,000 to Americans for each child claimed as a dependent, whereas Mr Ryan’s bill gives parents just $500 per child up to their third child.
That Ms Jayapal, Ms Lee, and other progressives signed onto Mr Ryan’s bill demonstrates a willingness to budge on some of the finer details.
But such a proposal is likely way too heavy for Republican stomachs.
“We already have a universal basic income — it’s called work,” Michigan Republican Congressman Paul Mitchell told The Hill.
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