RICHMOND, Va. — Thirty-four mayors across the United States, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, urged the new administration and lawmakers to send monthly stimulus checks to Americans for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayors for a Guaranteed Income ran a full-page ad in Thursday’s Washington Post titled ‘One more check is not enough.’
In a tweet, Mayor Stoney urged President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to support the proposal.
“I'm asking for, calling on Congress and also President Biden, who has already showed some interest in this, that we provide $2,000 recurring checks through the end of the pandemic,” Stoney told CBS 6.
The coalition of mayors wrote that American families are hurting and on the brink of economic ruin.
Last Fall, Stoney launched an experimental pilot program to give $500 per month to 18 families over the next two years.
“We have a number of people facing some true financial hardships. We are talking about keeping food on the table and a roof over families' heads. That’s why I think Congress needs to step up and do their part like they did earlier in the year in 2020,” he explained.
Congress authorized $1,200 economic impact payments for individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples earning less than $150,000 through the CARES Act.
In December, lawmakers passed another stimulus of $600 checks for Americans, which was $1,400 less than former President Donald Trump had requested.
The mayors' proposal may be a non-starter for some politicians like Senator Mitt Romney (R - Utah).
He voiced skepticism over President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan to combat the coronavirus.
“We just passed a program with over $900 billion in it. I'm not looking for a new program in the immediate future,” Romney told reporters on Thursday.
In an email, a spokesman with the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) said they would have to see specific legislation in order to make a judgment on the proposal. The spokesman did question the timeline asking who decides when the pandemic is over.
“It’s not like we’re flipping a light switch here and ‘ending’ the pandemic on a certain date. Maybe we should cut taxes instead. It would accomplish basically the same goal,” wrote John March, RPV communications consultant.
But some Virginians were adamant that they need financial help now rather than later.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, careers, and business during the pandemic. Lines at food banks are longer than ever and families continue to struggle to make ends meet.
Kimberli Vida and her husband support three children who are currently in college. They would use an extra monthly stimulus check to pay off tuition and medical bills.
"I get that you don't want to overspend. But sometimes there isn’t a choice. Sometimes you have to do the right thing no matter what the cost is. You have to take care of the people in your country,” she said.