With the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are weighing fiscal stimulus plans to boost the economy.
Mitt Romney surprised some yesterday by floating a dramatic idea to weather the coronavirus crisis—cutting every American adult a check for $1,000 immediately.
On March 16, Romney’s office sent out a press release saying:
“U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today called for urgent action on additional coronavirus response measures aimed at providing economic relief for working Americans and families, easing the financial burden for students, and protecting both health workers and patients. Romney is pushing for consideration of these proposals as discussions continue on an additional coronavirus relief package.”
The release went on to list Romney’s proposals, which include
- Provide economic stability for working Americans” through a one-time check for $1,000
- Provide grants to impacted small businesses with greater than 50% loss
- Ease financial burden for students through loan deferment and Pell Grant amount consideration
- Improve telehealth services and require plans to temporarily cover telehealth
People were… surprised, to say the least.
June 2019: "Some liberal nutjob is running for president who wants to give every American $1,000 a month!"— Will Bunch 🆘 (@Will_Bunch) March 16, 2020
March 2020: Mitt Romney: "I want to give every American $1,000 a month (for now, anyway)"
Life comes at you fast
Add to the list of things our past selves would never have believed about the future:— Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA) March 16, 2020
Mitt Romney advocating for UBI. https://t.co/D4RVp5RBJd
Actually, they were pleasantly surprised.
I admit, I did not foresee Mitt Romney coming out in favor of UBI. https://t.co/Blglc4owXL— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) March 16, 2020
Income volatility is hugely detrimental, linked to higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Mitt Romney (essentially @AndrewYang's) proposal is attractive both as an economic and public health measure. https://t.co/SHGSxx78rF— Sandeep Jauhar (@sjauhar) March 16, 2020
In the press release, Romney made the following statement:
“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. “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.”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez touted a similar, more generous Democratic proposal and commented on how universal basic income is not a partisan issue but something the country should implement to get through the threat of COVID-19.
GOP & Democrats are both coming to the same conclusion: Universal Basic Income is going to have to play a role in helping Americans weather this crisis.@RoKhanna & @TimRyan’s proposal goes up to $6,000/mo depending on need. Mitt Romney just came out for a flat $1,000 universal. https://t.co/43d4AWK70u— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 16, 2020
Politico’s Jake Sherman reports that there might be more bipartisan support for a UBI-like stimulus than for payroll tax cuts:
I cannot believe I am writing this, but here it is: My reporting would indicate there’s probably more bipartisan energy behind cutting $1,000 checks to people than enacting a payroll tax cut.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 17, 2020