Members of Congress, mayors, organizers, small business owners, and individuals impacted by the pandemic participated in events across the country on Thursday, February 6th as part of a nationwide Day of Action demanding that Congress pass recurring $2,000 checks.
Recent polling shows that more than 80% of the public supports $2,000 checks, including 74% of Republicans. And 60% support recurring monthly payments of $2,000 until the pandemic is over.
The “Make it Monthly” Day of Action, organized by Economic Security Project Action, Change.org, Income Movement, and The People’s Bailout, included events in 12 states; a live, national conversation with Members of Congress, our very own Natalie Foster, and restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin; an ad in TIME from 33 mayors.
“Past Due” Events
The delivery of $2,000 “past due” invoices to 19 Members of Congress in 12 states by grassroots organizers and individuals impacted by the pandemic. The invoices contained the names of more than two million people who signed a Change.org petition asking Congress to authorize $2,000 monthly checks.
In Irvine, CA, activists met with staff of Congresswoman Katie Porter who accepted the invoices, and listened to stories from some UCI students and a constituent who had to close his business.
In Hanford, CA, Lemoore resident Aurora González delivered a message to Congressman David Valadao: Congress must include monthly stimulus checks in the next COVID relief bill. Oralia Vallejo of the Kings County Latino Roundtable noted that government COVID relief has not been sufficient, especially for the low-income residents who have lost their jobs as well as farmworkers. “We really need this support so we can improve the lives of everybody.”
In Orlando, FL, organizers Erica Wright and Stacey Rutland from Income Movement delivered petitions representing 154,000 signers to the office of Senator Marco Rubio.
In Portland, ME, Lewiston resident Gina Morin, a volunteer with the Maine People’s Alliance, helped deliver 6,000 invoices to the office of Senator Collins. In delivering the petitions, Morin said, “I know what it’s like to have been forced onto the street, and I’ve been working with other volunteers to help folks here in Lewiston but there’s only so much we can do.”
In Las Vegas, NV, organizers delivered petitions to the offices of Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Nick Rampone with Humanity Forward said, “People just need [checks]. Our belief is that recurring cash stimulus, direct to the people, is the most effective way to do that.”
Live Conversation with The Appeal
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), former Stockton Mayor and Founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Michael Tubbs, Economic Security Project Co-chair Natalie Foster, and restaurant owner and Change.org petition organizer Stephanie Bonin, joined a live conversation hosted by The Appeal and NowThis, about how one stimulus check isn’t enough, and they should be recurring.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: “Every single day, our office is inundated with voicemails, emails from people who are desperately struggling to put food on the table, to keep a roof over their heads, just to survive… Many of us who have, unfortunately, known what real struggle looks like, which unfortunately isn’t that much here in Congress, can attest to the dire struggles that people are faced with, the anxiety that they’re living with, the desperation in their voices as they leave voicemails for us. And we have to do everything that we can.”
Congressman Tim Ryan: “This has been an issue from before the pandemic. We’ve seen income inequality continue to be exacerbated by globalization, by automation, by huge tax cuts over the past 20 years that went primarily to the top 1%. This has led to the level of income inequality that has been unsustainable for so many families.. The economy is clearly on the wrong track for 80% of the American people, and this is an opportunity to highlight that, to talk about investments into families.”
ESP co-chair Natalie Foster: “Direct cash payments are the best, fastest way to put relief into people’s hands. Because rent comes every month, the bills come every month, putting food on the table happens every month, and so should the checks… It will be hard to do, but we can do hard things. And we have to do hard things. There are now 35 mayors across the country who have called for a federal guaranteed income, and many of them are demonstrating the idea in their cities, from St. Paul, to Columbia, SC, to Atlanta, GA. There is a groundswell of support for monthly checks.”
Former Stockton Mayor and MGI Founder Michael Tubbs: “There always seems to be a lot of hand wringing and heart wrenching discussion about how to help the majority of people. But just four years ago, we passed $2 trillion in tax cuts — not in the pandemic, in regular times — to the richest among us, which is even more than President Biden is proposing with his $1.9 trillion package. This is a question of values, a question of who we are as a country, and a question of do we want to not just recover, but do we want to build back better from where we were.”
Restaurant Owner and Change.org petition organizer Stephanie Bonin: “What people are spending the checks on is different, whether it’s diapers, or being able to make our rent, or being able to make up for reduced hours, it’s all different. But what we have in common is that we’re all trying to be survivors of COVID-19, and in doing that, we need help. And that’s what we’re calling on.”
Mayors Join the Call for Recurring Checks
While everyone was coming out for the Day of Action, mayors were also speaking out for checks. Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, representing 33 mayors from cities and towns across the country, ran an ad in TIME calling for recurring checks until the end of the pandemic.
Billboard for Recurring Checks in West Virginia
Income Movement put up a billboard in West Virginia urging Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin to back $2,000 stimulus checks, garnering several local news stories and a response from Sen. Manchin indicating his openness to targeted direct checks.
More Perfect Union joined in on the local efforts, interviewing West Virginians who would be the most affected by austerity measures. In their own words, families and workers asked Sen. Manchin to “come to the people of West Virginia, and tell our people why we don’t need this money.”