Justin Amash Slams Congress For ‘Convoluted’ Coronavirus Relief Proposals, Calls For Universal Payments

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) holds a Town Hall Meeting on May 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

As April approaches and many Americans are left without an income to pay for bills and rent, Congress continues to clash over the right relief bill for the coronavirus pandemic. According to Independent Justin Amash, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are wasting their time and need to act fast to put money in the hands of Americans as soon as possible.

“Congressional leaders are wasting time on slow, convoluted proposals,” he tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “Americans need fast, direct relief. Start getting monthly checks to people now.”

Amash called for $1,250 per adult and $500 per child to be provided to Americans for each of the next three months or before the lockdown ends. After the third month, the Michigan congressman said that Congress could choose to renew, amend, or discontinue the payments.

Echoing universal basic income (UBI) advocates such as Humanity Forward founder Andrew Yang and Scott Santens, Amash pushed the importance of making the payments universal to avoid bureaucratic red tape. However, he differed from them on entertaining the possibility to “recoup” funds given to high-income earners at a later date.

“Make the payments universal to speed things up,” Amash tweeted.

“We can consider recouping payments made to high-income households later, but we shouldn’t delay payments now. In any case, individuals who don’t need the money can donate the amount to help others who are struggling.”

Amash claimed that “complex, targeted interventions” are less effective and will lead to “unintended consequences.”

“Cash relief to the people is the best way to serve everyone, whether they need to cover a mortgage, food, a car payment, or child care.”

The 39-year-old congressman also pushed the importance of ensuring that Congress adjusts spending and taxes at a later date to avoid “burdening future generations” with the costs of the payments. According to Amash, the best way to ensure everyone’s needs are met is to allow people the independence to make their own decisions without government interference “to the greatest extent possible.”

As reported by CNBC, Congress is close to reaching a deal after Democrats shot down the first two iterations of the coronavirus relief bill. According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the new bill includes increased unemployment insurance and more oversight over the $500 billion bailout fund that Democrats warned would allow President Donald Trump to funnel money to the businesses and corporations of his choice in secrecy.

Amash has been vehemently against corporate welfare and expressed his belief that neither Congress nor Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin should be allowed to pick the winners and losers of the post-COVID-19 economy.