Biden stimulus checks executive order is 'not enough' as Ilhan Omar calls on president to back 'recurring cash payments'
THE Biden stimulus checks are "not enough" and struggling Americans should instead receive "recurring $2000 cash payments" until the pandemic is over, several lawmakers claim.
Ilhan Omar, the Congressional Progressive Caucus whip and a member of "The Squad," tweeted this week that she was "circulating a letter to Biden" pushing for the recurring payments.
In another tweet, the second-term congresswoman expressed support for Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and his call for "recurring $2,000 checks."
"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," Omar said in the letter, published by the Huffington Post.
"We hope that you will consider recurring cash assistance when crafting your economic policy priorities moving forward."
Omar added that recurring cash payments should "continue until the economy recovers with equal payments to adults and dependents," among other stipulations. The letter did not detail what her proposal would cost.
Biden this week signed an executive order to speed up the distribution of $1,400 stimulus checks – in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December – to ease the burden on Americans and stabilize the economy as part of his American Rescue Plan.
He signed a second order on the same day that included a directive for his administration to begin work on his pledge to institute a $15 federal minimum wage.
The orders are part of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that was first outlined by Biden on January 14 and includes the direct payments for Americans.
The newly sworn-in president has proposed the plan to Congress, but it is unclear whether it will garner enough Republican support to pass on a bipartisan basis.
Earlier this month, Biden revealed that he is intending to send a third $1,400 stimulus check to Americans as part of the package.
Signing the order, Biden asked the Treasury Department to take steps to expand and improve delivery of the stimulus checks, such as setting up online tools for claiming payments.
The $1,400 stimulus check will be added to the $600 checks previously approved by Congress.
"Many Americans faced challenges receiving the first round of direct payments and as many as eight million eligible households did not receive the payments issued in March," a White House fact sheet said.
However, Omar and other progressives have argued that Biden’s proposal does not go far enough to address the current financial crisis, arguing that the president reneged on a pledge for $2,000 checks if the Democrats won control of the Senate.
The president also signed an order to increase access to food for millions of children who are missing meals due to school closures.
The weekly value of food stamps could be increased for some 12 million families who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
It could provide a family with three children more than $100 of additional support every two months.
"We are at a precarious moment in our economy," Brian Deese, director of the White House's National Economic Council, told reporters, according to the New York Times.
"The American people cannot afford to wait. So many are hanging by a thread."
He said the actions are not a substitute for legislative relief, "but they will provide a critical lifeline to millions of American families".
Biden's second order will restore collective bargaining power and worker protections by revoking three orders issued by President Donald Trump.
It also promotes a $15-an-hour minimum wage – an increase from $7.25.
The order also overrides a Trump order which allowed federal agencies to move many career federal employees into a category without job protections and put them at risk of being fired.
Some 16 million Americans are now receiving some type of unemployment benefit, and an estimated 29 million don't have enough to eat.
Women, minorities and low-income service workers have been disproportionately impacted, with Black and Hispanic workers facing higher jobless rates than white workers.
The president wants to get cash into the hands of suffering Americans as quickly as possible, sources told Axios earlier this month.
Biden's American Rescue Plan includes $415billion to combat the pandemic, including $160billion for a national vaccination program to push faster rollout of vaccines and expand testing.
Since the plan for $1,400 stimulus checks was unveiled, Americans have been asking when they would get their money.
According to a CBS News analyst, it has been predicted that in a best case scenario the third check could roll in by late February.
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware, earlier this month Biden said there is "real pain overwhelming the real economy, one where people rely on paychecks, not their investments, to pay for their bills and their meals and their children's needs."
"It's not hard to see that we're in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis," the president-elect said.
"We have to act, and we have to act now."
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