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Hawley Calls for Monthly Payments for Working Families to Stem Coronavirus Fallout

Sen. Josh Hawley during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., December 11, 2019 (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) unveiled a plan Tuesday to help working families with monthly payments amid uncertainty stemming from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

“Struggling families need help, and they don’t have time to sort through confusing rules and mandates about who’s paying for what and how,” Hawley said in a press release. “They’re not sure what’s going to happen to mom’s or dad’s workplace during this crisis, or if their work can afford to keep everyone on payroll. Let’s not overthink this. These families need relief — now — to pay bills that are coming due, make those emergency grocery runs, and get ready for potential medical bills. Let’s get it to them.”

Hawley’s proposal calls for the federal government to give families “a fully refundable monthly benefit lasting through the coronavirus emergency.” It uses the IRS’s standards for household expenses, meaning a family of three would receive $1,446 a month; a family of four, $1,786; and a family of five, $2,206. The proposal is targeted at all single parents making less than $50,000, and all married parents making less than $100,000, before phasing down.

Kansas City’s Democratic mayor, Quinton Lucas, reacted enthusiastically to Hawley’s proposal.

The plan comes as the Senate attempts to arrive at a consensus on economic protections for U.S. workers amid a flailing economy. On Monday, Senators Mitt Romney (R., Utah) and Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) called for a cash stipend for every American to offset the economic fallout from the pandemic, mirroring former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s universal basic income proposal.

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