Senator Mitt Romney is calling for the Senate to pass an economic relief package that includes a $1,000 cash payment to every American adult in response to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“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,” Senator Romney said in a statement Monday. “We also urgently need to build on this legislation with additional action to help families and small businesses meet their short-term financial obligations, ease the financial burden on students entering the workforce, and protect health workers on the front lines and their patients by improving telehealth services. I will be pushing these measures as Senate discussions continue about an additional relief package.”
The former Massachusetts governor argued that while measures like expanded paid leave and unemployment benefits are important, an immediate infusion of $1,000 would more quickly fill urgent gaps for families.
The dramatic proposal from Romney, a Republican, comes as the Senate is set to take up a House-passed coronavirus aid package this week. As governors around the country impose more closures on entire industries, an untold number of workers are losing their jobs or seeing their hours dramatically cut.
The House-approved relief measure is aimed chiefly at workers and includes free coronavirus testing and paid sick leave. A nearly empty House — with most of its members away on a one-week recess — convened Monday, planning to adopt a resolution to make technical changes to the measure.
The Senate is expected to turn to that legislation and is under pressure to send it to Trump quickly. However, another business group and a handful of Republicans were saying they wanted to make changes in the measure.
“I don’t think the House bill is going to pass the Senate as it’s written for one basic problem: It doesn’t go far enough and it doesn’t go fast enough. There are too many gaps in coverage for the smallest businesses and medium-sized businesses," Sen. Tom Cotton said Monday on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends." He also said he and “a lot of other senators" think the House measure doesn’t get cash into affected workers’ hands fast enough.
The concept of regular direct cash payments to every adult, regardless of income level, was a major proposal of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Christina Prignano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.