As American families brace for the economic impacts of the coronavirus, Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is proposing each American adult receive a one-time payment of $1,000 designed to provide economic relief and stability.
Romney unveiled a series of measures Monday to respond to the coronavirus, which has local and state officials ordering closures of schools, restaurants, theaters and bars, and has largely brought day-to-day activities of many Americans to a halt. His plan includes a provision to immediately send the $1,000 checks to ensure Americans can meet short-term financial obligations and boost spending.
The Utah senator also suggested providing grants from the Small Business Administration to small businesses that don't receive other federal loans, deferring student loan payments for recent college graduates and requiring private insurance plans to temporarily cover telehealth services.
Romney noted that the coronavirus response package passed by the House last week includes crucial measures designed to help families but said additional steps should be taken.
"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," Romney said in a statement, adding that he will be advocating for the proposals as the Senate weighs an additional relief package.
The legislation approved overwhelmingly by the House just after midnight Saturday addresses the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The package requires free coronavirus testing, expands funding for food security programs, provides emergency family and sick leave, and boosts funding for unemployment insurance and Medicaid funding.
In addition to the House-passed legislation, which the Senate is set to take up this week, President Trump signed an $8.3 billion emergency funding package earlier this month. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday unveiled a new proposal to inject $750 billion into the fight against the virus and to help those affected by the crisis.
Lawmakers are expected to continue discussions on further relief measures in response to the coronavirus. Other lawmakers have called for cash stipends to families, including Republican Senator Tom Cotton.
There are more than 3,800 reported cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., and the illness has claimed the lives of 71 people. To limit the spread of the coronavirus, local and state officials are prohibiting large gatherings and ordering widespread closures of non-essential businesses. Many private companies have ordered employees to work from home and the White House, U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court have closed their doors to the public.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance Sunday recommending gatherings of more than 50 people be canceled or postponed for eight weeks.