(Inside California Politics) — Most Americans got direct payments last month as part of the federal government’s latest COVID-19 relief package, but there is a push among some Democrats for recurring payments.
“I do think it may very well be necessary and here is why: We, as you’ve mentioned, have passed the one year mark since the official beginning of the pandemic,” Sen. Alex Padilla said.
Padilla joined Inside California Politics this weekend to discuss issues affecting Californians during a 30-minute town hall broadcast.
Padilla argues that the COVID-19 pandemic was not only a devastating health crisis, but it created an economic crisis.
“There have actually been dual pandemics when we stop and think about it. Certainly the health impact and devastation of COVID-19, but also the economic impacts of COVID-19, whether it’s been on the economy broadly, people losing their jobs, people losing their wages because of cutbacks at their place of employment,” he said. “And so direct assistance to working families has been necessary but very sporadic throughout the first year of the pandemic.”
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed by President Joe Biden on March 11. It included, among other things, $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, expanded unemployment benefits, tax provisions and grants to small businesses.
The package passed along party lines.
“I was proud to be part of the American Rescue package’s passage as one of my first acts as senator on behalf of California and I pray that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon, but we don’t know,” Padilla told Inside California Politics.
Padilla and 20 other Senate Democrats recently signed a letter to President Biden to consider recurring direct payments.
“If the pandemic continues to last throughout the year, there’s going to be small businesses and families and state and local governments that will continue to need assistance,” Padilla said. “We have to make it clear. As long as the pandemic lasts, the federal government will be there to support American families and small businesses.”