‘We Need $2,000 a Month Per Person to Make America’s Working Families Whole’

DESPARDES — A $1,200 check isn’t enough. We need $2,000 a month, per person, to make America’s working families ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic, a group of senators say.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey and Kamala Harris unveiled legislation Friday that would provide $2,000 payments until three months after the Department of Health and Human Services declared the public health emergency to be over. But the proposal is likely to face strong resistance from the White House and congressional Republicans.

The bill would provide $2,000 a month to every individual with an income below $120,000, higher than the $75,000 threshold in the previous stimulus. Married couples would receive $4,000. Families would receive $2,000 per child for up to three children, and payments would be assessed retroactively to March 2020.

The legislation would give payments to all U.S. residents, even if they did not have a Social Security number or had filed recent tax returns. It would also forbid debt collectors from taking the payments, and provide payments to homeless and foster youth.

The U.S. unemployment rate has soared to 14.7% with 20.5 million jobs lost in April. The 18.9% unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos in April more than tripled from March’s 6.0% level — it tops the previous record high of 15.7% set nearly four decades earlier in December of 1982.

Hispanics’ unemployment rate exceeded that of Blacks, Asians and Whites, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, noting that, of “all major work groups,” only Blacks’ unemployment rate did not set a new record high in April.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Bloomberg News interview that “putting money in people’s pockets” was a top priority for House Democrats in the next stimulus, and provisions like an extension of unemployment insurance and direct payments were under consideration.

Democrats have also pressed for hundreds of billions in dollars of aid for state and local governments whose budgets have been cratered by the coronavirus pandemic.