theThis week, American taxpayers took matters into their own hands with an online petition for lawmakers to pass one of the coronavirus financial relief packages currently pending. The Change.org petition asks the U.S. Congress to pass the Emergency Money for the People Act — or one of the similar bills — and it now has over 1.1 million signatures. It shows the enormous groundswell of support for monthly stimulus checks.
The petition was created by a Colorado restaurant owner named Stephanie Bonin, who describes herself as "one of millions of Americans who fear for my financial future because of this coronavirus crisis." Bonin wrote on behalf of her family, employees, and community — many of whom are in danger of losing their housing or other amenities over financial uncertainty. Arguing that a monthly stimulus check was the best way to assuage these fears, almost 1.2 million signers agreed with her.
Bonin's petition did not specifically name any of the bills currently active in Congress or the United States Senate. However, it did include the hashtag "money for the people," hinting at the Emergency Money for the People Act introduced by California's Re. Ro Khanna and Ohio's Rep. Tim Ryan. The bill would give eligible Americans a stimulus check every month for at least six months worth up to $2,000 depending on their income.
There are several similar proposals out there as well, however. Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced the ABC Act, calling for the same stimulus check payment system. Over in the Senate, the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act was introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Ed Markey, with similar plans for $2,000 per month stimulus checks.
Competing bills call for quarterly stimulus checks, or another one-time stimulus check, though some argue that that is not enough for a long-term crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has proposed a massive payroll tax rebate system instead of stimulus checks in the hopes of encouraging employers to keep their employees on the books through this crisis.
While many are still hopeful that regular stimulus checks could be passed, right now the bill that is closest to fruition ins the HEROES Act — which allows for another one-time relief payment. Congress passed the bill last week, but the Senate will not reconvene until June 1. Even then, there is no guarantee that it will be considered right away.