The push for a fourth stimulus check (and beyond) is starting to gain a little bit more momentum and support as spring kicks off.
Back in January, 53 House Democrats wrote a letter to Biden and Harris, asking them to consider including recurring stimulus payments.
And now, Senate Democrats are planning on sending a letter to the White House tomorrow to get President Biden to back more stimulus payments.
We’ve seen the text of the letter before but lawmakers were waiting until they acquired more signatures before sending it off to the White House.
“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” the letter stated.
“Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”
Senate Democrats have been able to double the support for recurring monthly payments, going from just 11 supporters up to 21.
Lawmakers who have signed the letter include:
- Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.),
- Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
- Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
- Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
- Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
- Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
- Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)
- Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
This letter actually pushes for recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment extensions that are tied to economic conditions.
Linking the payments to certain economic conditions would allow payments to go out without the need for lengthy negotiations since the amounts would already be set.
“You’re deciding what it is that will kick in at what time. It allows aid to get to people who need it the most and it’s reversed automatically as well,” Brian Kench, dean of the Pompea College of Business at the University of New Haven said.
“It’s a more rational solution to things you could implement during a crisis that pulls politicians out of the story.”
It’s still early to tell how realistic another stimulus check is.
However, we know the White House is planning on another huge stimulus bill so there’s a good chance we’ll see another package in the works soon that could contain more checks.
A recent report from TransUnion indicates that many Americans are still struggling one year after the pandemic began.
One year ago, a survey indicated that six in 10 adults saw a loss of income as a result of the pandemic. And now, approximately one year later, that figure is at four in 10.
So while things are not quite as bad as they once were, 40% of Americans experiencing decreased income is still a major issue that will need to be addressed.
While some Americans will be splurging with their new stimulus checks or even investing, a lot of Americans will be using these payments to cover essential expenses like debt followed by paying for housing, utilities and food.
And for some, this relief may only get them by for a couple of more months. Reportedly one in five adults are in “financial limbo” and not sure if their finances will recover (ever).
These are the type of figures that will be very important down the line as lawmakers consider a fourth stimulus check.
At this point, I think it is too early to tell what direction they will go in but it doesn’t seem unlikely that they might consider an even more targeted approach based on how many people are still struggling.
Well, you knew it was coming.
I’m referring to the talk about a fourth stimulus check.
For months, there have been some murmurings about providing relief to Americans beyond the third round of stimulus checks.
In fact, at one point 50 Democratic members of the House signed a letter asking President Biden to prioritize recurring direct checks.
As they stated in the letter:
“Another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out, families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities. One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis.”
The idea of recurring checks was enticing to many people but the price tag of this initiative was just too astronomical even for Democrats.
(I wouldn’t be surprised to see this initiative proposed once again but I don’t see any possibility for passing.)
But now that the third round of checks have started to go out, we will likely start to hear more about a potential fourth round.
The interesting thing to keep an eye on it will be if Democrats would resort to the budget reconciliation process again.
Typically, budget reconciliation is only available one time a year but I recall seeing reports that because the 2020 budget was postponed, lawmakers would be able to resort to budget reconciliation two times in 2021.
“There will be an opportunity to repeat this process in 2021, since no fiscal year 2021 budget resolution was adopted in calendar year 2020. That would allow Congress to first take up the overdue budget resolution for fiscal year 2021, use that to generate an initial reconciliation bill, and then take up a budget resolution for fiscal year 2022 (which begins on October 1, 2021) to generate a second reconciliation bill.”
It’s not clear to me how valid that claim was but if that is the case, Democrats would have a way to pass an additional round of stimulus checks without needing to win over Republicans who would never go for a fourth round.
It is still very early and millions of people are still waiting for the third stimulus check to hit. So we likely won’t hear a ton about this for a little while.
When the talks do start back up though I’m sure we will hear a lot about a package that would be even more targeted than what we have seen this last round.
It’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.
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