• A group of economists are calling on Congress to send out more direct payments
  • More stimulus checks would promote a sustained recovery of the US economy
  • Research shows another round of cash payments could keep 14 million people out of poverty

Top economists are urging Congress to send more direct payments to millions of American families to help weather the devastating economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of more than 125 economists on Monday published an open letter urging policymakers to “revitalize the economy” by sending out direct cash payments.

“Learning from the 2009 stimulus bill and the recent CARES Act, we know that the next stimulus needs to be big, immediate and direct, and lasting until the economy recovers,” the letter stated.

“We urge policymakers to use all the tools at their disposal to revitalize the economy, including direct cash payments, which are one of the quickest, most equitable, and most effective ways to get families and the economy back on track,” it continued.

The economists suggested pairing another round of stimulus checks with programs, such as unemployment benefits and robust funding for child care, to help families meet their needs as well as quicken the economic recovery.

The letter cited research data from the Urban Institute that showed a fresh round of stimulus checks could prevent 14 million Americans from becoming poverty-stricken. Expanding weekly unemployment benefits could keep an additional 4 million out of poverty.

The economists also said implementing more direct cash payments would boost consumer spending and promote a sustained recovery to shorten the recession.

The Economic Security Project organized the initiative. The letter’s signatories included Jason Furman, former President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser; ex-Federal Reserve Board vice chairman Alan Blinder; and former Fed economist Claudia Sahm, Fox Business reported.

Democrats and Republicans have been negotiating for months the contents of a new coronavirus stimulus deal. Both parties have primarily supported the passing of another economic relief bill and a fresh round of direct payments, but have yet to agree on the new bill's price tag.

House Democrats have continuously pushed for a comprehensive $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that features provisions for more stimulus checks and weekly federal unemployment benefits.

However, GOP lawmakers rejected a bill with a large price tag and expressed support for a “narrow, targeted bill” that cost $500 billion. The bill will include funds for small businesses and liability protections, but won't include more direct cash payments for American families, CNBC reported.

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