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Pelosi says "guaranteed income" for Americans is worth considering for coronavirus recovery

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress might want to consider a guaranteed minimum income for Americans as part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Her comments are the latest sign that Democratic lawmakers are seriously considering an idea that gained traction during the party's primary, thanks to the candidacy of Andrew Yang.

"We may have to think in terms of some different ways to put money in people's pockets," Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC.

"Let's see what works, what is operational, and what needs other attention. Others have suggested a minimum income, a guaranteed income for people. Is that worthy of attention now? Perhaps so."

Pelosi did not give specifics on what kind of plan she'd like to see, or how much money Americans would receive. CBS News reached out to Pelosi's office for comment. 

Millions of Americans are receiving one-time checks of up to $1,200 from the federal government as part of an unprecedented $2.2 trillion relief package passed in March. Many Americans have already expressed concern that this is not enough.

Pelosi said in a letter to House Democrats this month that she wanted "additional direct payments" to families in future bills.

As Congress prepares for the next round of relief measures, some Democratic lawmakers are pushing for payments similar to a guaranteed income. Representatives Ro Khanna of California and Tim Ryan of Ohio have introduced a bill to provide at least $2,000 a month to Americans making less than $130,000 annually until employments numbers return to their levels before the coronavirus.

Near the end of his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders called for $2,000 direct payments to every American household for the duration of the crisis.

Congressional Republicans have been going in the opposite direction, calling for a pause on government spending. 

Yang, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, promoted a universal basic income of $1,000 a month for every American during his presidential campaign. He ended his campaign in February, more than a month before the coronavirus crisis sent unemployment soaring. After President Trump signed the bill allowing direct payment to Americans, Yang said in a statement, "I'm pleased to see the White House adopt our vision of putting money directly into the hands of hard-working Americans. It's unfortunate to see this development take place under the current circumstances, but this is exactly what universal basic income is designed to do – offer a way to ensure that Americans can make ends meet when they need it most."

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