In a virtual town hall hosted by The Appeal on Monday, former Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Kamala Harris voiced their support for a monthly stimulus of up to $2,000 for all Americans during the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused unprecedented mass unemployment.
Yang, who ran a campaign that centered around a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 monthly for all Americans, called for government action and money directly to the American people, Forbes reported.
“We’re facing a new Great Depression, but there are legislators that have bills on the table that, if enough Americans get behind [them], we can pass today,” Yang said.
Harris expressed a similar sentiment and pushed for government action to help the millions of struggling Americans in the country.
“The government should be here for the people in a moment of crisis. People should be able to count on their government to see them and to create a safety net for them, so that these people don’t fall into poverty—or further into poverty—during the course of this pandemic.”
The California senator recently introduced the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act along with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey — a plan that would give up to $2,000 monthly to all Americans making up to $120,000 annually. For those making over $100,000, the payment would be gradually decreased. In addition, married couples can file jointly for $4,000, and families would receive $2,000 per child for up to three children.
Harris claims that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was not sufficient to meet American’s needs amid the COVID-19 crisis — a sentiment echoed by Sanders.
“The one-time $1,200 check that many Americans recently received is not nearly enough to pay the rent, put food on the table and make ends meet,” Sanders said.
Markey suggested the bill was crucial for helping U.S. residents who were most vulnerable during the pandemic, such as low-income families, immigrant communities, as well as service and gig workers.
Yang’s nonprofit, Humanity Forward, continues to fund its own UBI pilots and promote the proposal’s benefits, which has been gaining a second look amid the pandemic. For example, Spain will soon be rolling out a permanent UBI that provides a monthly payment roughly equal to $1,100 USD per couple and over $500 USD per single adult.
Humanity Forward recently announced it would be giving two South Carolina residents a monthly UBI of $1,000 for one year. Additionally, the nonprofit will be providing 20 Hudson, New York, residents $500 per month for five years starting this fall.