While negotiations on a COVID-19 stimulus bill remain underway in Congress, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) has announced her own plan to counter the economic effect of the COVID-19 outbreak in America.
Under Tlaib’s bill, called the “Automatic BOOST to Communities Act,” the U.S. Treasury would create a new mint program to fund direct payments to every person in the country through preloaded $2,000 cash cards.
It would do so by directing the U.S. Mint to issue two $1 trillion platinum coins, which the Federal Reserve would then purchase at face value and retain ownership over permanently. The Treasury secretary would then “sweep” those new reserve funds into the Treasury General Account, making them available to be dispersed into prepaid U.S. debit cards for each person.
Every cash card would be recharged with $1,000 each month until one year after the end of the COVID-19 crisis. By having the program funded directly from the Treasury, Tlaib says no additional national debt would be accrued.
On Saturday, Tlaib tweeted that while she “fully supports” the COVID-19 economic response proposal from House Financial Services Committee Democrats, she would encourage Democratic leadership to also consider her “truly universal” proposal.
In the bill, universality is guaranteed by extending the definition of “every person” to: permanent residents; dependents; non-citizens; individuals without a bank account, social security number or permanent address; and people living abroad or in unincorporated U.S. territories or protectorates.
Tlaib’s plan would also have the Treasury develop a list of eligible individuals in coordination with all relevant federal, state and local government agencies to ensure that everyone is covered.
The proposal calls for progressive tax reform to accompany its implementation, to “ensure that emergency relief provisioning does not exacerbate income or wealth inequality in the long-term.”
Tlaib recently participated in a virtual town hall on the COVID-19 outbreak with Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and fellow “Squad” members U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
All three congresswomen have endorsed Sanders for president.