Today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI-04) and Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) led six of their Ways and Means Committee colleagues in asking President Biden to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance (UI) in his American Families Plan.
In response to the President’s support for automatically adjusting the length and amount of UI benefits unemployed workers received depending on economic conditions, the lawmakers are calling on the White House to back a plan that would issue recurring direct payments and unemployment insurance should a similar crisis hit our nation in the future. Recurring direct payments have broad, bipartisan support from both the general public and economic experts, and stimulus checks issued through the CARES Act, the year-end spending bill, and the American Rescue Plan Act, along with enhanced federal UI benefits, proved to be the most effective, but temporary, forms of direct relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Survival checks and unemployed benefits reduced the misery index during this pandemic, but families are still feeling its impact,” said Congresswoman Moore. “Tying these benefits to economic conditions, rather than arbitrary political timelines, would help us maintain relief for Americans still struggling with how to keep their kids fed, pay bills, and keep a roof over their heads, lifting up Americans and help create a truly equitable economic recovery.”
“The success of the American Rescue Plan, combined with direct financial assistance in the CARES Act and prior federal legislation, is evident in communities nationwide,” said Congressman Gomez. “But we can’t pretend that a $1,400 check will be enough to last a year, and we need to be prepared with a strengthened safety net should a similar economic crisis strike again. Tying recurring direct cash payments and federal unemployment benefits to the country’s economic conditions not only makes sense, but it also shows the American people that their government is prepared to help them in the event of another economic catastrophe. I look forward to working with President Biden to ensure we can deliver these two critical economic recovery tools to uplift all American workers and their families.”
As the lawmakers noted in the letter, $1,400 checks issued in the American Rescue Plan Act will keep 11 million people out of poverty this year, while a fourth and fifth stimulus check could keep an additional 12 million Americans out of poverty. Additionally, 67 percent of adults reported that the most recent stimulus check was important to their financial well-being, but 60 percent also reported that those checks will last them less than three months.
The following Members of Congress signed onto the letter: Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Judy Chu (CA-27), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), and Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10).
For a PDF of the letter, please click here.