Almost 2 million more Americans could receive a stimulus check in the next coronavirus relief package after being excluded from the first round. Sens. Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.), and Thom Tillis, (R-N.C.), are pushing to ensure American citizens who are married to foreign nationals without Social Security numbers receive the same $1,200 check that tens of millions of Americans received earlier this year as part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March.
The 1.7 million Americans who jointly file taxes with a spouse who does not have a Social Security number reportedly were barred from the CARES money at the direction of the White House, according to The Hill's inside source, which Rubio and Tillis said was unfair in the introduction of The American Citizen Coronavirus Relief Act, which would amend the CARES Act to include this group.
"No American should be denied a federal stimulus check because they are married to a foreign national who is not a U.S. citizen,” Rubio said in a statement. “Amid a global pandemic, we must ensure Americans are receiving the funds appropriated by the federal government to keep families afloat during this national crisis."
Al Cardenas, co-chairman of the American Business Immigration Coalition and former chairman of the Florida GOP, told The Hill of the proposed legislation, "The good news about this proposal is that it's a no brainer: Any GOP member not voting in favor is certainly going to be targeted as not being fair or equitable, and their motivations are going to be put in question. For U.S. citizens to once again be treated in a disparate manner in trying times is mean-spirited, and there's no logic to it."
This new proposal is a variation of one introduced by Democrats shot down in earlier coronavirus bills, which would have provided relief checks to all taxpayers, including those who file using an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). ITINs also allows undocumented immigrants, who are not eligible for Social Security numbers, to pay their taxes. The proposal to provide relief checks to ITIN taxpayers was initially shot down by the Donald Trump administration as well as GOP Senate negotiators, The Hill notes. "I was hoping it was just an oversight," Daniel Garza, executive director of The Libre Initiative, told the outlet of the exclusion. "I'm just flabbergasted that this happened. ... They need to redress it, fix it, never repeat it again. It's a question of flat-out fairness."