Rep. Omar Leads Letter Urging Recurring Survival Checks

January 28, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) led a letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris urging the inclusion of recurring cash payments to the American people for the duration of the pandemic. The letter also calls for parity of payments for adults and dependents, and inclusion of all immigrant workers and their families. 

“People across Minnesota and the entire country are suffering. Millions remain out of work and countless more have had their hours cut or income dry up as a result of the pandemic. A one-time payment of $2,000 is simply not enough,” said Rep. Omar. “The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment by delivering monthly payments of $2,000.”

“It is clear that during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history that we must take additional unprecedented action,” the members wrote. “We kindly request that your incoming administration consider including support for recurring cash payments in your future economic relief plans. Recurring payments would provide a long-term lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic.”

The letter was signed by Representatives Adams, Barragán, Blumenauer, Beatty, Bonamici, Bowman, Bush, Carson, Chu, Cicilline, Dean, DeGette, DeSaulnier, Escobar, Espaillat, Evans, García, Gomez, Grijalva, Hastings, Jackson Lee, Jayapal, Johnson (GA), Jones, Kaptur, Kelly (IL), Khanna, Lee (CA), Lieu, Lowenthal, McGovern, Meng, Moore (WI), Neguse, Newman, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Payne, Jr., Pingree, Pocan, Pressley, Raskin, Rush, Ryan, Scanlon, Schakowsky, Sires, Takano, Thompson (MS), Tlaib, Torres (NY), Velázquez, Watson Coleman, and Williams (GA).

The letter was endorsed by Action Center on Race and the Economy, Center for Law and Social Policy, Center for Popular Democracy, Children's Defense Fund, Children's HealthWatch, Church World Service, Community Change Action, Demand Progress, Economic Security Project Action, Equal Rights Advocates, Humanity Forward, Income Movement, Indivisible, Institute for Policy Studies-Program on Inequality, LatinxVoice, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, National Action Network, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Our Revolution, ParentsTogether Action, People's Action, Public Citizen, Sunrise Movement, The People's Bailout, Tax March, United We Dream, and Universal Income Project. 

“One year into the current pandemic, our families and small businesses are still struggling from a significant loss of jobs and income,” said Natalie Foster, co-chair of Economic Security Project.“Direct checks are a critical lifeline that have kept families afloat during the pandemic, putting money directly into people’s pockets so they can put food on the table and a roof over their heads. But the truth is: One more check is not enough. The bills come monthly, and so should the checks. Congresswoman Omar has long been a champion for direct cash payments, and we applaud her continued work to ensure families receive ongoing direct relief until our economy fully recovers.”  

"It is vital that the millions of workers and families, including immigrants and mixed-status families, who are struggling during this time of crisis are supported through simple, easy to access aid that helps meet their basic needs, said Mary Small, acting National Policy Director for Indivisible. They deserve the peace of mind from knowing that aid will continue as long as the economic hardship does. We know that recurring, inclusive direct payments are broadly popular, and this assistance would help bolster our economy while we recover from the pandemic."

"It's absurd that one-time checks were ever on the table, when we know people are not facing one-time costs during this pandemic," said Peoples Actions Campaigns Director Sondra Youdelman. "The most direct way to get people urgently needed relief and make sure it sticks is through recurring cash payments. And now that we've got Congress and the White House, there's no excuse to not pass this critical bill."

“We’ve seen the data on recent cash payments made through the Cares Act and how it helped relieve Americans and stimulate the economy, but two or even three stimulus checks are not enough to meet the moment,” said Ebonie Riley, Washington Bureau Chief of the National Action Network. “We need continued support to sustain basic needs until the economy has fully recovered from the pandemic. The right choice demands the sheer will to provide consistent cash payments to those who need it most. A move to authorize direct payments until we’re out of this public health and economic crisis will show bold leadership and a measurable solution. As Dr. King once said, ‘it’s all right to tell a man to lift themselves by their own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.'"

"United We Dream represents some of the most vulnerable and neglected populations during this COVID19 crisis" said Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, State and Local Policy Manager for United We Dream. Undocumented immigrant families have been left out of most other federal relief and do not qualify for federal aid programs such as unemployment. This is why we support this iimmigrant-inclusive and recurring cash benefit championed by Rep. Ilhan Omar and urge you to sign onto this e-Dear Colleague letter demanding the administration make it a priority in their economic plan for relief."

You can view the full letter below and here.

Dear President Biden and Vice President Harris,

We are appreciative of your ongoing work to make sure the American people receive survival checks as soon as possible, and it was very encouraging to see the inclusion of direct cash assistance in your current economic rescue plan. However, it is clear that during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history that we must take additional unprecedented action. We kindly request that your incoming administration consider including support for recurring cash payments in your future economic relief plans. Recurring payments would provide a long-term lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic.

We are experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with millions of Americans either unemployed, forced out of the workforce, or facing a decline in hours and wages. Worsening systemic inequities, such as food insecurity and housing instability, are most severe for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, who are suffering higher infection and mortality rates of COVID-19 and higher unemployment levels, compared to white Americans. At the same time, many people of color are encountering reduced or stagnant incomes as frontline workers while not being able to access vital relief programs, such as unemployment insurance.

Both the CARES Act and the recently enacted relief package included a round of direct cash payments which provided critical relief to those who needed it most. Data show the CARES Act payments were the primary reason that poverty fell by as many as four million people at the start of the recession.[1] These payments boosted the economy by increasing spending at all income levels, and the most among low-income people, who spent this infusion of disposable income primarily on food, rents, and utilities.[2] This cash assistance was used very quickly, with lower-income individuals spending more than forty percent of their payments within the first ten days.[3] As aid ran out, up to eight million people, disproportionately Black and Latino adults and children, were forced into poverty.[4]

The stunning financial crisis for those at the bottom of the income ladder demands

massive relief to those who need it most. Recurring direct payments until the economy recovers will help ensure that people can meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession. As we look at the coming year, another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out, families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities. One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis. Many families cannot afford to wait for 8 months between payments. To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief – they cannot be at the mercy of Congressional gridlock. 

Any relief package must include recurring cash payments that:

  • Continue until the economy recovers with equal payments to adults and dependents,
  • Prioritize those who need it most and will spend it the quickest,
  • Go to all immigrant workers, refugees, and their families (both ITIN filers and mixed-status households), 
  • Include older dependents such as disabled and elderly dependents and those over the age of 16 still claimed as dependents,
  • Add improved administrative outreach and communication at the state and local level to ensure families are aware of payments, and
  • Ensure the Internal Revenue Service makes automatic payments available to all eligible households with better outreach to individuals left behind in previous rounds, including the underbanked and unbanked through pre-loaded EBT cards and those who had erroneous, delayed, or missing payments through improved casework assistance.

As the country begins to look towards building to a better future, we need to provide those struggling and left behind with consistent reliable cash payments during this COVID-19 crisis. We hope that you will consider recurring cash assistance when crafting your economic policy priorities moving forward.

Thank you for your consideration,


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Ilhan Omar

Member of Congress







Additional U.S. House Co-Signers:


Alma S. Adams, Ph.D.                                                         Barbara Lee                           

Nanette Diaz Barragán                                                        Ted W. Lieu

Joyce Beatty                                                                          Alan Lowenthal

Earl Blumenauer                                                                  James P. McGovern

Suzanne Bonamici                                                               Grace Meng

Jamaal Bowman, Ed. D.                                                      Gwen Moore

Cori Bush                                                                               Joe Neguse

André Carson                                                                        Marie Newman

Judy Chu                                                                               Eleanor Holmes Norton

David N. Cicilline                                                                 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Madeleine Dean                                                                   Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Diana DeGette                                                                      Chellie Pingree                                 

Mark DeSaulnier                                                                  Mark Pocan

Veronica Escobar                                                                 Ayanna Pressley

Adriano Espaillat                                                                 Jamie Raskin

Dwight Evans                                                                        Bobby L. Rush

Jesús G. “Chuy” García                                                       Tim Ryan

Sylvia R. Garcia                                                                    Mary Gay Scanlon

Jimmy Gomez                                                                       Jan Schakowsky

Raúl M. Grijalva                                                                   Albio Sires

Alcee L. Hastings                                                                 Mark Takano

Sheila Jackson Lee                                                               Bennie Thompson

Pramila Jayapal                                                                    Rashida Tlaib

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.                                           Ritchie Torres

Mondaire Jones                                                                    Nydia M. Velázquez 

Marcy Kaptur                                                                        Bonnie Watson Coleman 

Robin L. Kelly                                                                       Nikema Williams

Ro Khanna