Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced Monday morning that the United States needs to consider additional emergency measures in response to the coronavirus epidemic, including passing an emergency temporary measure to send every American adult a one-time check for $1,000.
In the press release, Romney begins by describing the urgent need for coronavirus legislation, in addition to the current House bill being considered by the Senate.
“The House coronavirus response package contains critical measures to help families in Utah and across the nation in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, and the senate should act swiftly on this legislation,” Romney announced in a press release Monday.
“We also need to urgently build on this legislation with additional action to help families and small businesses meet their short-term financial obligations, ease the financial burden on students entering the workforce, and protect health workers on the front lines and their patients by improving telehealth services. I will be pushing these measures as senate discussions continue about an additional relief package” said Romney.
Romney then proposes two economic relief measures: One that will apply to every American adult, and another that will also apply to small businesses.
“Every American should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy. Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options,” said Romney.
As for small-business relief, the Republican senator proposes that the Small Business Administration should provide “bridge grants” to businesses that apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans but do not receive them.
“This program would ensure small businesses can meet short-term obligations, such as payroll and rent, without forcing them into future bankruptcies. An eligible small business must exhibit a revenue loss greater than 50% from the same month in the prior year,” said the senator.
To discourage fraud, Romney says “the program will also include criminal penalties for fraud and an audit by the SBA’s Inspector General to ensure compliance.”
Romney is the first Republican senator to propose sending money directly to American adults because of the coronavirus outbreak.
However, several Democratic lawmakers, including presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), former presidential candidate Tim Ryan (D-OH), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have proposed similar relief measures more in the vein of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s “Universal Basic Income” proposal.
Ryan and Khanna’s proposal would provide checks between $1,000 and $6,000 to Americans who earned less than $65,000 the previous year through an Earned Income Tax Credit Program.
“We must soften the blow for workers as large gatherings and events are canceled and hours are cut. A payroll tax cut is not sufficient,” said Khanna in a statement, according to Newsweek. “This plan is about providing real, urgently needed relief to middle and working-class families.”
According to The Hill, Gabbard’s proposal would provide $1,000 to every American adult until the coronavirus threat “no longer presents a public health emergency.”
Progressive superstar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also endorsed UBI measures, saying that “we need to take dramatic action now to stave off the worst public health & economic effects.”