Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney called for the federal government to give $1,000 to every American adult to alleviate the pain from the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reports.
Romney released the proposal, which also called for grants to small businesses and measures to help students, on Monday. The proposal echoed former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s call for a universal basic income, at least during the crisis.
"Every American adult should immediately receive $1,000 to help ensure families and workers can meet their short-term obligations and increase spending in the economy," Romney said in a statement. "Congress took similar action during the 2001 and 2008 recessions. While expansions of paid leave, unemployment insurance, and SNAP benefits are crucial, the check will help fill the gaps for Americans that may not quickly navigate different government options."
Romney urges GOP to back House bill:
Romney also urged Republicans in the Senate to pass the emergency coronavirus relief approved by the House last week after it drew opposition from members over the paid sick leave provision.
"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,” Romney said.
Romney said the Senate must also do more in response to the pandemic.
"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,” he said. “I will be pushing these measures as Senate discussions continue about an additional relief package."
Yang praises proposal:
Yang, whose presidential platform included $1,000 payments to every American each month, praised Romney’s plan.
"Mitt understands this crisis' potential impact on the economy and what is at stake,” he tweeted.
Former federal officials have issued similar calls.
"I would start with a $1,000 check for every American, sent out as quickly as possible," Greg Mankiw, the former top economic adviser to George W. Bush, told CNN. "That would work out to be about 1.7% of GDP. But if this pandemic continues, we might have to do it again in a month."
Former Obama adviser Jason Furman estimated the plan would cost about $350 billion.