Tlaib, Jayapal Introduce Groundbreaking Bill to Deliver Universal Recurring Payments for COVID-19 Relief
WASHINGTON— Today, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) reintroduced the Automatic BOOST to Communities (ABC) Act, legislation to immediately provide a $2,000 payment to every person in America as critical relief during the COVID-19 crisis, followed by $1,000 recurring monthly payments throughout the ongoing pandemic that continue for one year after the end of the crisis to help our country and families recover. The ABC Act would be funded directly from the Treasury with no additional debt issued by minting two $1 trillion coins, and additional coins as necessary.
The ABC Act would also uplift unbanked and underbanked communities by creating a buffer for people who have seen their costs of living rise for decades as their wages have stagnated. Unlike a payroll tax cut, which would do little to benefit our most vulnerable workers, the ABC Act would put real money in the pockets of people across the country.
“In the last year of this global pandemic, we have seen corporations and CEOs reap the benefits of payouts and soaring profits while everyday workers, low-income people and families across the country have been left to scrape by without any recurring, aggressive, and inclusive financial assistance from our federal government,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “Folks need far more aid to pay their bills, purchase groceries, keep a roof over their heads, and other needs essential to maintaining a quality of life. The ABC Act is just that, designed to help cushion these blows during and after this global health crisis while chipping away at economic inequality in our society during the pandemic.”
The ABC Act would also create a program of emergency responder corps to be deployed to vulnerable communities to ensure they have access to the direct payments and other needed resources.
“One in seven families don’t have enough to eat. More than eight million people have been pushed into poverty. Nearly one million new people are filing for unemployment every single week,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “This unprecedented moment demands an unprecedented response. People don’t only need relief, they need stability, certainty, and predictability and the ABC Act delivers them exactly that. Our legislation acknowledges that a one-time survival check isn’t enough to get people through this crisis. Instead, we send out recurring checks every month during the crisis and for a year after it ends. That is money in people’s pockets, and certainty in their lives.”
According to polling released by Data for Progress and the Justice Collaborative Institute last year, there is strong bipartisan support among people in the country for payments on a recurring basis, with 66% of the public preferring recurring payments of $2,000 until a year after the President declares an end to the federal state of emergency. The poll also revealed that a majority of voters, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, support financing recurring UBI payments by instructing the U.S. Treasury to issue two trillion dollars of new currency.
The bill was originally introduced last year, shortly after Congresswoman Tlaib recently led 57 members of Congress in a bicameral push for including recurring payments as part of Congress’s next economic response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The Automatic BOOST for Communities Act has been praised by both organizations and legal experts alike.
"The massive economic impacts of this pandemic, especially on low-wage workers, will outlast any single relief package — except the ABC Act," said Demand Progress Executive Director and Founder David Segal. "The people need recurring payments, not recurring fights in Congress over whether we're going to help everyday people."
“Leading economists across the country have been sounding the alarm for weeks about the country's weak recovery. Millions of families need bold and immediate economic stimulus to help pay bills, rent, and other basic necessities,” said Charles Khan of Strong Economy for All. “Our economy needs a boost from the bottom up to make sure recovery efforts don't falter. Ongoing $2000 checks have polled thru the roof with the public because families know what they need best. It will pump billions into local economies and automatic triggers will ensure that the aid continues as long as people need it. Ensuring that no family is stuck waiting because of Congressional gridlock in the future.”
“We applaud Congresswoman Tlaib’s leadership and her commitment to fight for adequate relief for the millions who’ve gotten sick or are out of work because of this devastating pandemic,” said Community Change Action President Lorella Praeli. “ALL families, regardless of immigration status, need adequate and recurring cash payments to pay the rent, put food on the table and pay for child care. Rep. Tlaib’s proposal offers a bold solution that not only helps people survive the next few months, but serves as a foundation for all of our families to thrive in the long term.”
“The economic struggles that individuals and families nationwide faced before the pandemic have only gotten worse in the last year,” said Economic Security Project Co-Chair Natalie Foster. “Congresswomen Tlaib and Jayapal have been some of the biggest champions for cash as a tool to help struggling families weather the crisis. Their Automatic BOOST to Communities Act would give people monthly checks until the economy recovers, a critical lifeline for those the recovery is leaving behind. We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy, powerful, and well-connected. Monthly checks that put money into the hands of those who need it most is the best and most direct way to do that.”
“The ABC Act would provide the type of relief at the scale and consistency that people actually need, said Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell. “We are talking about directly putting money in the pockets of people. The ABC Act honors the fact that people have sacrificed and have done what they needed to do to help get us out of this pandemic - they need their government to step up and do the same for them. This bill will allow people across the country to go deep into their communities to ensure that their neighbors who are feeling the brunt of this crisis are getting the relief they need. This is a transformational piece of legislation and it has our full support.”
“We continue to hear from our members and neighbors who are still struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown,” said Detroit Action Executive Director Branden Snyder. “When folks heard about the last round of survival checks, many members immediately began talking about which bills they would pay with it. For many folks, this piecemeal approach is not enough, especially since we are now a year into this pandemic. This is why we need the ABC Act, we need universal relief – a people’s bailout. We know that the ABC Act will provide that relief and support community with the Emergency Responder Corps. I thank Congresswomen Tlaib and Jayapal for their leadership and for bold policies like the ABC Act.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Chuy Garcia, Hastings, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, Watson Coleman, Bush, and Bowman.
The bill is also endorsed by Economic Security Project Action, Demand Progress, The Jain Family Institute, Community Change Action, Strong Economy for All, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, Detroit People’s Platform, ACCESS, and Mothering Justice.
Text of the bill can be viewed here.