Rep. Omar Leads Letter Calling for Additional Relief Checks in Next COVID-19 Package
WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) led a letter to House and Senate leadership calling for the inclusion of relief checks in the next COVID-19 stimulus package. The letter also reinforces the calls made by countless Americans to provide direct cash assistance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Millions across this country are without a job, without a paycheck, and without an ounce of compassion from the President of the United States,” Rep. Omar said. “Children are going to bed with an empty stomach because of this economic crisis. Families are worried about whether they will be on the streets when the eviction moratorium expires just weeks from now. Eight million additional people are in poverty now as a result of this government’s failure to meet their basic human needs. The American people are suffering, and their leaders continue to ignore their plight. The American people are crying out for direct relief in the form of stimulus checks.”
The cash assistance included in the CARES Act proved to be an effective way to provide direct support to the American people and shielded families from financial ruin. The previous relief checks also increased consumer spending, which helped boost economic activity. Economists project similar outcomes for subsequent relief checks.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major shocks to the U.S. economy and public health system in our modern history,” the members wrote. “This pandemic has only worsened existing systemic inequities in our society, with low-wage earners, women, and Black and Latino communities disproportionately suffering from the human and economic toll of the virus. Almost half of all households in the United States reported experiencing serious financial concerns such as running out of savings and not having enough money for basic necessities. Direct cash assistance has become a lifeline for the American people.”
The letter was signed by Rashida Tlaib, Jamie Raskin, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald S. Beyer Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Suzanne Bonamici, Brendan Boyle, Tony Cárdenas, André Carson, Kathy Castor, Judy Chu, David N. Cicilline, Emanuel Cleaver, Jim Cooper, Madeleine Dean, Mark DeSaulnier, Veronica Escobar, Adriano Espaillat, Ruben Gallego, Sylvia R. Garcia, Al Green, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jimmy Gomez, Deb Haaland, Jahana Hayes, Pramila Jayapal, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Robin L. Kelly, Ro Khanna, John B. Larson, Brenda L. Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Alan Lowenthal, Carolyn B. Maloney, James P. McGovern, Jerry McNerney, Grace Meng, Gwen Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Bobby L. Rush, Tim Ryan, Mary Gay Scanlon, Jan Schakowsky, José E. Serrano, Albio Sires, Mark Takano, Dina Titus, Lauren Underwood, Juan Vargas, Nydia M. Velázquez, Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Peter Welch.
This letter was endorsed by Children's Defense Fund, Church World Service, Closing the Women's Wealth Gap, Common Defense, Demand Progress, Economic Security Project Action, Equal Rights Advocates, Friends of the Earth U.S., Indivisible, Native Women Lead, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Public Citizen, Tax March, Voices for Progress, Center for Popular Democracy, and Sunrise Movement.
You can read the full letter here and below.
The Honorable Speaker Nancy Pelosi The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Speaker Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate
H-232, U.S. Capitol S-230, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Kevin McCarthy The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Minority Leader Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate
H-204, U.S. Capitol S-221, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer:
We write to convey the indisputable need to including relief checks in the stimulus package currently being negotiated, and to reinforce the call made by countless Americans for continued direct cash payments in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major shocks to the U.S. economy and public health system in our modern history. This pandemic has only worsened existing systemic inequities in our society, with low-wage earners, women, and Black and Latino communities disproportionately suffering from the human and economic toll of the virus. Almost half of all households in the United States reported experiencing serious financial concerns such as running out of savings and not having enough money for basic necessities. Direct cash assistance has become a lifeline for the American people.
We have learned from the CARES Act that the Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) saved many families from financial ruin and sheltered the economy as a whole. According to a Census Household Pulse Survey, most respondents used these checks to pay for everyday expenses including food, rents/mortgages, utilities, and other consumer debts. This boost in consumer spending in the second quarter helped to prop up the economy. These cash payments were one of the main reasons why the poverty rate fell in the early months of the pandemic, before beginning to rise again as critical fiscal aid has been depleted or set to expire.
Now that much of the fiscal assistance in the CARES Act has run out, consumer spending is trending downward while COVID-19 cases are spiking across the country. It is clear that we need to provide financial support to those who must stay home, and prevent our most vulnerable populations from being pushed into poverty and homelessness.
This type of cash assistance has already proved to be one of the most effective and most equitable ways to directly support the American people this year. Excluding universal and direct cash relief from the next stimulus will leave behind tens of millions of people who have lost income as well as many struggling individuals who cannot work and those left out of federal support programs. A robust relief package must pair cash assistance programming with increased unemployment insurance (UI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aid to states and localities, and childcare funding. However, direct payments are one of the quickest ways to bring relief to the most people and must be a priority in the next package to ensure that American families will have the unconditional aid they need to support themselves and their local economies during this perilous time in our nation’s history.
We hope that you will keep in mind this urgent need as you continue to craft a relief package to help struggling Americans as we reach the end of the year. Our constituents are in great need, and we have a duty to deliver the most effective, most direct assistance possible.
Thank you for your consideration,