Sen. Mitt Romney has a simple proposal to address the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak: Send every American a $1,000 check.
“Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy,” Romney’s office said in a press release Monday.
The Utah Republican and former Massachusetts governor called for the measure as part of the federal government’s broader response to the coronavirus outbreak, as public gatherings and businesses grind to a halt in many parts of the country in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Congress similarly issued stimulus payments and tax rebates, which varied by income, to some Americans during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. And as the Senate begins debate this week on a bill to address the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, Romney’s office highlighted the simplicity of sending a $1,000 to each citizen. In a statement, he suggested the checks should be part of an additional bill after Congress passes its initial relief package.
“While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options,” his office said.
Last week, Reps. Ro Khanna and Tim Ryan introduced a bill to provide between $1,000 and $6,000 to every American who earned less than $65,000 last year, which they said accounts for three-quarters of the workforce. Rep. Joe Kennedy III also expressed general support for the idea in an interview Friday with The Boston Globe. And as former President Barack Obama’s top economic advisor recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, the one-time $1,000 payments would be more generous to low-income families — and less expensive — than President Donald Trump’s proposed payroll tax cuts.
Whatever the amount, supporters of the idea say the stimulus payments are just a plank of the government’s larger coronavirus relief efforts.
Romney also called Monday for a federal bridge grant program to help small businesses cover short-term costs; a new mandate that private insurance cover telehealth services if related to COVID-19 (the cost of which the federal government would fully reimburse); increased Pell Grants to account for unexpected costs incurred by college students in the midst of the pandemic; and allowing the deferment of student loans for new graduates.
“The House coronavirus response package contains critical measures to help families in Utah and across the nation in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, and the Senate should act swiftly on this legislation,” Romney said in his statement Monday, adding that lawmakers “urgently need to build” on the bill with additional legislation action.
“I will be pushing these measures as Senate discussions continue about an additional relief package,” he said.