• The prospect of a second stimulus check appears to be dead for now, thanks to the stalemate that caused talks over a new coronavirus relief bill to collapse in the US Senate.
  • However, a group of senators has proposed a new bill that would pay most Americans $2,000/month indefinitely — and retroactively back to the start of the pandemic in March.
  • Its sponsors include California Senator Kamala Harris, a potential Joe Biden running mate.

The prospect of a second stimulus check, following up on the wave of $1,200+ payments that were either mailed out directly to Americans as paper checks or direct-deposited into bank accounts in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, appears to be dead for now. That’s after congressional leaders couldn’t come to an agreement over terms of a massive new stimulus bill, which led President Trump over the weekend to issue a flurry of executive orders attempting to salvage various chunks of that defunct bill using presidential authority — with the orders covering things like payroll taxes and unemployment insurance. But no stimulus checks.

Meanwhile, two US senators (one of whom is a potential running mate choice of 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden) are floating a wild stimulus plan that would pay most Americans at least $2,000/month indefinitely — for the duration of the pandemic, and then for a few months beyond it. This plan — the Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act — would also make those payments retroactively, going back to the start of the pandemic in March. Meaning, since that retroactive timeframe encompasses six months, the first stimulus checks distributed to Americans under this plan would be for a whopping $12,000.

The senators who introduced this proposal include Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Kamala Harris. And while it has almost no chance of being passed into law right now in the Republican-controlled chamber, it is interesting to think about what might change and how this plan might be massaged into reality if two things happen — if Biden wins this fall, and if he does so having chosen Harris to be his running mate, which there’s a not-insignificant chance of happening. She would then no doubt try to elevate this stimulus idea to be front-and-center as a Biden White House priority.

Markey got into a bit of a Twitter tussle with Trump ally and Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz in recent days over this proposed stimulus plan, terms of which include the following:

  • A recurring payment of $2,000/month to individuals; $4,000/month to married couples; plus an extra $2,000 per child for as many as three children
  • Anyone who earns less than $120,000 would be eligible

Here’s how Markey summed it up on Twitter: “Give every person in our country $2000/month for the duration of the pandemic, $2000/month for 3 months after that, and $2000/month retroactive to March.” Which caused Cruz to fire back indignantly: “Why be so cheap? Give everyone $1 million a day, every day, forever. And three soy lattes a day. And a foot massage. We have a magic money tree — we should use it!”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.