GOP Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) on Monday called for a form of Universal Basic Income to help Americans amid the coronavirus outbreak, saying that he wants to distribute monthly checks to low-income and middle-class Americans so they can afford necessities during the coronavirus outbreak.
“Let’s cut out employers as the middle men and get relief to people not in weeks but in days,” Cotton wrote in a Medium post outlining his proposals for a Senate bill.
“We should send relief directly to American families most likely to be in need — those in the bottom and middle tax brackets — to pay for rent, groceries, childcare, and other necessary expenses, as well as to spend at local businesses that are hurting during this crisis,” he added.
Cotton suggested the money could come from tax rebates or through unemployment agencies.
The House bill sets up a complicated relief system that relies on paid sick leave & refundable tax credits.
That won’t move quickly enough & puts undue pressure on businesses to lay off workers.
We don’t want to see layoffs—we need cash in the hands of affected families. pic.twitter.com/64hNtYhfJO
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) March 16, 2020
According to Business Insider, Cotton proposed giving $4,000 per month to any family of four or $1,000 per adult for the duration of the crisis.
His office told the news outlet that he has not settled on a hard number.
“Giving relief directly to Americans is a better solution than complicated sick-leave policies or payroll tax cuts, and will be more certain to go to the kinds of hourly- or gig-workers who need it most,” Cotton argued in his proposal, which suggests the monthly payments come from tax rebates.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for some form of a temporary monthly universal basic income as people across the country face job losses or are out of work as people are asked to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Cotton, 42, joined Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) who called for $1,000 to be put directly into the hands of Americans.
Romney called for giving every adult American $1,000 in a single, one-time payment to address coronavirus.
A monthly $1,000 income was also proposed by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
In response to a satirical tweet from The Daily Show on Romney coming out in favor of giving Americans $1,000, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who brought the issue to the fore during his presidential run, quipped “I’m pumped about it actually.”
I’m pumped about it actually. https://t.co/Ui3STExk2t
— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 16, 2020