I gotta tell you, I love the squad–i.e. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. These four Democratic representatives in the House often feel like the only ones willing to vocally advocate for the needs of everyday people across the country, no matter how this might play politically.
The Squad is yet again stepping up for average Americans, and this time they have a host of other House Democrats behind them. In a letter sent to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday, Omar asked the White House to consider supporting recurring cash payments for Americans during the ongoing pandemic. According to Politico, the request was signed by over 50 additional House representatives.
“It is clear that in this unprecedented time in our nation’s history that we must take additional anticipated action,” the letter reads. “Recurring payments would provide a long-term lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic.”
The letter doesn’t specify what amount the representatives would like the recurring payments to be, but as Politico points out, progressives in the House have previously pushed for $2000 monthly checks. Last year, when she was a senator, VP Harris herself introduced a bill to give Americans $2,000 each month in coronavirus relief due to the millions of jobs lost and the many businesses that have closed due to the pandemic.
That bill failed to pass in the Republican-led Senate, and now Biden and Harris are working with Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that is expected to provide people with one-time $1,400 relief checks.
But the House Democrats make some convincing arguments for the White House to go even further in providing assistance to Americans (as well as immigrant workers, refugees, and their families) during this protracted pandemic—especially since every debate in Congress about the stimulus bills that have passed so far took months of negotiations that made the eventual financial assistance we received feel long-overdue, not to mention far short of what people need.
“Another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out families will once again struggle to pay for economic necessities,” reads the letter sent to Biden and Harris. “One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis. Many families cannot afford to wait for eight months between payments. To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief.”
It’s hard to argue with, particularly since The Appeal recently reported a poll finding that 60 percent of voters say recurring $2,000 payments are what they need until the pandemic is over. But somehow I’m confident that Republicans and even some Democrats (like West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin) will find a way to disagree with this approach.