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Kamala Harris wants to cut you a $12,000 stimulus check right away

Published Aug 21st, 2020 1:52PM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: Andy Dean/Adobe
  • Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris supports a dramatic plan to offer most Americans a  new stimulus check each month for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The plan that Senator Harris has signed onto in the Senate would offer $2,000/month through the end of the coronavirus pandemic and a little beyond to most Americans, along with a starting check of $12,000.
  • The idea of offering this degree of direct cash payments to Americans as a measure of coronavirus relief is part of the distinction between a potential Harris-Biden administration and the Trump-Pence administration — a distinction that Democrats spent this week laying out during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

If you watched former Vice President Joe Biden’s speech Thursday night in which he accepted his party’s nomination to formally challenge Donald Trump in this fall’s presidential election, you heard a stemwinder from the ex-Veep that saw him try to illuminate the bright dividing line separating the Harris-Biden ticket from the Trump-Pence one on the other side. “I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said about this turning-point moment in American history, returning to oft-used themes about how this election is a “battle for the soul of the nation.”

Biden’s choice of a running mate, in California Sen. Kamala Harris, also helps make that distinction with the current administration clear. Americans got to know her more this week (she accepted the vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday night), and one way they’ll continue getting to know her in the weeks to come is by the vision she articulates — a vision that includes, at least as far as Harris goes, giving as many Americans as possible tons of money to help them through the coronavirus pandemic in the form of a big new monthly stimulus check.

Harris’ plan would take care of the middle-class and low-income Americans until the end of the pandemic, and even a little beyond it. As a senator, she has signed on to a bill that supports sending out a new wave of stimulus checks, but which goes much farther than any such plan proposed to-date in Congress.

The idea supported by Sen. Harris — along with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey — is to provide most Americans with a new stimulus check of $2,000. And not just the one check, but a $2,000 check every month until the coronavirus pandemic has run its course. Additionally, this plan is retroactive back to the beginning of the pandemic. So since it began six months ago, that means your first check under this proposal would be for an eye-popping $12,000 (6 months x $2,000).

Direct cash transfers to people are regarded in some circles as an easy way to provide a quick lift to the economy (albeit it’s an incredibly artificial one, critics believe). Ideally, people would take their $2,000 stimulus payment and spend it, though at least some portion of it would also go towards paying bills as well as savings. This plan likely has zero chance of being passed in Congress right now, though, but there’s also nothing that says it can’t be tweaked a bit into something more legislatively practical.

The situation that the country finds itself in certainly calls for — something.

As Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell explained to reporters in recent weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has essentially screwed the economy for years. Likewise, the official tallies from the coronavirus continue to mount. According to Johns Hopkins University, almost 5.6 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the US, along with more than 174,000 deaths.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.