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♦ Why stop at $1,400? These Democratic senators want President Biden to back recurring stimulus check

These Democratic senators want Biden to back recurring stimulus checks

- By Alex Roarty

WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic senators is urging President Joe Biden to support recurring direct payments to lower-income Americans, arguing that regular, additional cash assistance is necessary until the economy fully recovers from the pandemic-induced downturn.

The proposal — which likely would face an uphill climb to become law even if gained wide support within the Democratic Party — would build on the means-tested, one-time $1,400 stimulus check included in Biden’s coronaviru­s relief bill, which passed the House last week and is now under considerat­ion in the Senate.

It’s an indication of how many party leaders have coalesced around the once-contentiou­s idea of sending money directly to Americans during the ongoing pandemic. The senators, who also requested Biden support automatic unemployme­nt insurance extensions, said they would like the president to include the ideas in a future economic recovery bill.

“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” a group of 10 senators wrote to Biden, in a letter obtained by Mcclatchy. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislativ­e timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Elizabeth Warren of Massachuse­tts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Alex Padilla of California, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ed Markey of Massachuse­tts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. The support from Sanders, Warren and Wyden — three of the Senate’s leading liberals — is an indication of the proposal’s popularity with the party’s left wing.

The senators’ letter did not mention many specifics, including the size of the assistance checks, which income brackets the payments would be directed towards, or what economic conditions would end the automatic extensions and direct payments.

Any proposal to install recurring payments could also face long odds in the House and Senate, where some moderate Democrats might balk at additional major spending.

But the senators are pairing their request with an effort from a liberal political group, the Progressiv­e Change Institute and Economic Security Project, which is urging other lawmakers to sign on to the proposal.

“Georgia showed the political power of checks, and data shows these checks plus unemployme­nt benefits keep millions of families out of poverty,” said Adam Green, PCI’S co-founder. “President Biden could expect broad support throughout the Democratic Caucus if he includes recurring benefits in his Build Back Better long-term economic recovery plan.”

 ?? Chip Somodevill­a/getty Images North America/tns ?? Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds a news conference to announce legislatio­n that would tax the net worth of America’s wealthiest individual­s at the U.S. Capitol on March 1.
Chip Somodevill­a/getty Images North America/tns Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds a news conference to announce legislatio­n that would tax the net worth of America’s wealthiest individual­s at the U.S. Capitol on March 1.

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