Amid the ongoing feud between progressive Democrats and their more moderate counterparts over a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill and legislation to abolish the filibuster, one progressive House Democrat is forging ahead.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) Friday introduced a bill that would pilot universal basic income programs, which she calls “guaranteed income,” in certain geographic areas, before taking the program national within the next seven years.
The SUPPORT Act allocates $2.5 billion for a program that would give $1200 per month to most Americans in “hundreds of communities” across the country between 2023 and 2027. After that, the program would be implemented nationally for people making less than $75,000 per year, and families making less than a combined $112,5000 per year.
The program would also be available to illegal aliens.
“Poverty is a choice. For too long we have prioritized endless growth while millions are homeless, hungry or without healthcare,” Omar reportedly said of her bill. “We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing and healthcare met.”
Omar signaled her support for universal basic income as early as April of 2020.
“It’s time for a universal basic income,” she said on Twitter at the time.
It’s time for a universal basic income.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) April 26, 2020
Former Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who later ran and lost in New York City’s Democrat Party primary for mayor in 2021, first popularized the idea of universal basic income during his 2020 White House bid.
The idea, though bolstered by three rounds of direct payments made to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, remains relatively outside of the mainstream. It is unclear how Omar’s bill will garner from her fellow Democrats in Congress.
Plausibly, the Democrats could pass such legislation. They have a majority in the U.S. House and Senate, and President Joe Biden in the White House.
But getting moderate Democrats in red states over the hump on progressive issues has been a challenge, particularly in the Senate.
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