Ten Senate Democrats have asked President Joe Biden to support a plan to send recurring stimulus checks and automatically extended unemployment benefits to low-income Americans as part of the administration’s upcoming COVID-19 relief package.
The Build Back Better plan is different from the current stimulus package that was passed by the House on Saturday and will be taken up by the Senate this week.
The current stimulus plan, which has a $1.9 trillion price tag, already includes an extension of federal unemployment benefits through the end of August, and a one-time $1,400 direct payment to millions of Americans.
“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,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”
The letter did not say how big or how frequent the checks should be.
The 10 senators who signed the letter sent to Biden on Tuesday are Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts., Alex Padilla, D-California., Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.
The letter is set to be distributed to the rest of the Democratic caucus, The Washington Post reported, adding that it likely represents the next Democratic fight over how much aid should be sent directly to Americans.
A bill that authorizes more spending is likely to face strong pushback from Republicans.
Last week, before the House passage of the current stimulus bill, Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar submitted an amendment to a bill that would have sent $10,000 stimulus checks to eligible Americans. The checks would have been funded by money earmarked for portions of the bill Gosar said were not aimed at helping those in need during the pandemic, according to a story from Fox News.
“I offered an amendment to prioritize $10,000 stimulus checks to Americans most affected by COVID-19 and lockdowns,” Gosar said in a statement to Fox News Saturday. “Instead, Democrats chose foreign aid, Big Tech transit, and Pelosi’s political priorities over direct relief to American citizens.”
Gosar said he wanted to remove 10 of the agenda items in the $1.9 trillion bill, saying the money that would be used to fund those programs should be divided up among Americans who need it.
“People need help with car payments, mortgage and rent, and everyday necessities,” Gosar said. “The government broke it. Now government must fix it. The people, not corporations or billionaires, need this money to survive,” he added, saying a $10,000 stimulus check should be considered “a down payment.”
The amendment to the bill failed.
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