Mar 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

AOC calls for direct coronavirus payments to be "universal"

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" that direct cash payments designed to curb the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic should be provided to all Americans, regardless of income levels.

Why it matters: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's "Phase 3" stimulus package proposal would send $1,200 payments to every American making less than $75,000 annually. The payment amount would be reduced by $5 for every $100 that an individual earns over $75,000 and phased out entirely for individuals making more than $99,000.

What she's saying:

"I do think it should be universal. I hear the argument of people saying, 'Why are you going to give a check to Bill Gates?' One of the things that we're saying is tax [the money] back a year from now so that we don't have to worry about a big complicated, bureaucratic means test upfront. Mail them all out to everybody, and let's get them back from the folks who don't need it next year."
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Between the lines: Poor families who do not have federal income tax liability would see smaller payments, though the minimum would be set at $600, according to the Washington Post.

  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) criticized that aspect of the bill on Twitter, saying: “Relief to families in this emergency shouldn’t be regressive. Lower-income families shouldn’t be penalized.”

The big picture: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on "Fox News Sunday" that he expects the Senate to vote on the "Phase 3" stimulus package on Monday morning.

  • It will part of one of the largest and most expensive stimulus packages in American history.

Go deeper: The coronavirus outbreak could hit every sector of the economy

Go deeper

America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,945,737— Total deaths: 365,368 — Total recoveries — 2,515,675Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,747,087 — Total deaths: 102,836 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  4. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  5. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.