WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-08) will introduce the Payments for the People Act, which would send quarterly payments to families until national unemployment is below 5.5 percent. 

"American families are struggling during this pandemic and too many are out of work through no fault of their own – one-time payments are not enough, and they need smart recurring payments to keep them afloat for the duration of this economic crisis," Rep. Dean said. “The Payments for the People Act is the continued support American families need – it is smart policy and economics that prioritizes America’s families."

The one-time $1,200 payments in the CARES Act went to roughly 160 million households in just two months, and were spent by the lowest-income families just days after they were issued. And most of the people who received the payments spent them on basic necessities.

"Our economic outlook is still deeply uncertain, and struggling families need a steady source of income to get through it – one that can’t be interrupted by Senate Republican stonewalling of any House-passed relief legislation,” Rep. Cartwright said. “Millions of unemployed Americans will now see their income slashed thanks to Leader McConnell’s failed ‘wait and see’ approach to the pandemic response, so we should ensure a lapse in critical relief can’t happen again. This legislation will provide a lifeline for Americans going through hard times until the pandemic is under control and we can fully restart our economy."

"While Congress debates the proposals for the next relief package, regular cash payments are a must-have. Direct cash gets money quickly to the people who need it most and are the most likely to spend it – but one check is not enough,” Adam Ruben, Director of Economic Security Project Action said. “The crisis we’re in is likely to last well into next year, if not longer – Congress and the White House have shown that passing even the most critical of legislation is challenging. We must pass regular cash payments that continue until the economy recovers, whether that’s in a couple of months or a couple of years. The Payments for the People Act would be a critical boost to families and to the economy as it begins to recover."

The Payments for the People Act would:
? Gives quarterly payments to all adults and their dependents for the duration of this recess through economic triggers, including:

     ? $2,000 quarterly payments while unemployment remains elevated at 8.5%;

     ? $1,500 quarterly payments while unemployment remains at 7%;

     ? $1,000 quarterly payments while unemployment remains at 5.5%;

     ? Ensure payments continue until unemployment is falling for two consecutive months, and is below 5.5%

? Eligibility: Begin to phase out at $75,000 of income for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing jointly, similar to the CARES Act. Available to all taxpayers, spouses, and qualifying dependents of any age, including households with ITIN holders.

? Implementation improvements: Direct the IRS wherever possible to make payments electronically and to Direct Express Cards when possible-to get payments out quickly and efficiently to those who need it most.

Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.