As businesses close and unemployment increases in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar unveiled a package of legislation Thursday to help provide financial relief.
Omar’s proposed legislation would send a $1,000 monthly payment to every adult and $500 for every child through the end of the pandemic. The bills would also require the federal government to compensate small businesses affected by the outbreak and prohibit bailouts to fossil fuel companies from the Trump Administration.
The monthly payments would be distributed by the Social Security Administration. The Internal Revenue Service would collect taxes on the benefits from the top 1% of income earners in the next tax year.
Small business owners experiencing losses, along with self-employed and independent contractors, would receive additional assistance administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration to cover wages and maintenance costs.
“The coronavirus shock could claim millions of jobs by this summer,” Omar said in a release. “It is deferring dreams, robbing Americans of their savings, and putting millions of families in debt. As job losses mount, we must take immediate action to invest directly in the American people.”
The state has received more than 72,000 new unemployment insurance applications this week as of 8 p.m. on Wednesday, including more than 31,000 on Wednesday alone, according to Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development spokesperson Eric Lightner.
In addition to the legislation, all 10 members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the Small Business Administration, urging the agency to provide emergency assistance loans to small businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
“We have heard directly from Minnesota small business owners about the substantial losses that they are now facing due to the COVID-19 disaster, which is causing extensive economic damage in our state and which necessitates financial assistance from the federal government,” the letter reads.
The White House proposed a similar economic stimulus plan Wednesday, which includes nearly $1 trillion in funds for small businesses and direct payments to Americans. The package would offer one payment of $1,000 per adult and $500 per child in early April, followed by another payment six weeks later should the national emergency persist.
Cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed 10,000 on Thursday, with the Minnesota Department of Health reporting 89 confirmed cases statewide.