As the call for monthly relief payments — or "universal basic income" — through the coronavirus pandemic rises, some Republican lawmakers are now pushing back. Many experts say that the American people need a stimulus check every month until the crisis is at an end, and some senators and congressional Representatives are on board. However, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed interest in the idea, some Republicans fired back at it.
Pelosi was on MSNBC for an interview on Monday, saying that she was open to the idea of monthly stimulus checks, such as the measures suggested in the Emergency Money for the People Act. According to a report by The Hill, some Republican lawmakers are calling this an "opportunistic" attempt to move American policy in general to the left. Rep. Steve Scalise said the idea was not only fiscally irresponsible, but "radical" and "tone-deaf."
"It's incredibly tone-deaf of Speaker Pelosi to continue using this crisis to push these radical socialist ideas that have been consistently rejected," Scalise reportedly said. "What we should be focused on is responsibly implementing the relief packages we passed to get trillions of dollars directly into the hands of families and businesses so the American people have jobs and an economy to come back to when we finally reopen."
Likewise, Indiana Rep. Jim Banks said that Congress needed to take steps that were clearly defined as temporary.
"Congressional Democrats already told us they're taking advantage of a crisis to turn America into a socialist country. They admitted this pandemic is a 'tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit [their] vision,'" he said. "Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to provide temporary relief to preserve the strong Trump economy we had before the pandemic."
Several proposals are on the table right now for future stimulus payments to Americans, and given the extended time-table for the coronavirus pandemic, many include payments over time. Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Ro Khanna have proposed a stimulus check worth up to $2,000 each month until unemployment returns to its pre-outbreak levels, distributed by the same rules as the recent stimulus check. Meanwhile, Rep. Pramila Jayabal introduced a measure where the federal government would pay 100 percent of unemployed workers' salaries up to $100,000 for up to three months.
Republicans are not all opposed to these kinds of ideas, either. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican representing Missouri, has suggested that the federal government pay 80 percent of unemployed workers' wages until the end of the pandemic. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.