Republicans recently proposed a coronavirus stimulus that would provide $1,200 or more in quasi-universal basic income (UBI) to Americans. But for low-income Americans who make $2,500 or less per year, financial assistance is slashed.
As reported by Breitbart, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley proposed an amendment to the legislation that would include equal pay for low-income Americans and college students who don’t work for the duration of the year.
“Relief to families in this emergency shouldn’t be regressive,” Hawley tweeted. “Lower-income families shouldn’t be penalized.”
Hawley’s amendment would remove the income threshold from the legislation and provide the cash stimulus to any American with a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
“Here’s what I propose to fix this bill: don’t penalize lower-income families,” he tweeted. “Make direct relief available to all individuals and families from middle class down.”
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the plan is intended to create money for individuals “from the middle class down.” But as Hawley noted, checks are cut in half for Americans that owe no federal income tax.
According to National Review, Hawley isn’t the only Republican unhappy with the party’s current proposal. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who proposed a one-time payment of $1,000 to every American amid the pandemic, took aim at the payment structure of the plan.
“The current bill has promise but it shouldn’t give lower earners smaller checks — that’s directly contrary to my proposal. We need to fix this to ensure lower earners get equal payments.”
A handful of Republicans are outflanking Democrats on coronavirus aid. Josh Hawley's proposal is thousands of dollars a month to families in straight cash. The Pelosi-Mnuchin paid sick leave bill is a pittance in comparison. pic.twitter.com/bzNmigulsV
— Zach Carter (@zachdcarter) March 17, 2020
The idea of sending income to Americans comes not long after Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang ended his campaign, which centered around a UBI of $1,000 per month for every American adult. Yang claims to have been in touch with Donald Trump‘s administration as they pursue a cash stimulus for the coronavirus crisis and recommended at least $1,000 per American adult and an extra $500 per child. However, The Guardian reported Yang is hopeful such payments will continue into the future.
“But in the absence of it being permanent, that we should say it lasts the duration of the crisis. I think that would be immensely helpful.”
The proposal of cash payments comes as millions of Americans who work in bars, restaurants, and other businesses forced to close during the coronavirus outbreak are now out of work. According to a recent JPMorgan Chase analysis, approximately one-in-four Americans have no savings in their bank account, and almost half the country would struggle to pay a $400 bill.