Much to the dismay of millions of financially struggling Americans, President Joe Biden last week, while addressing a joint session of Congress, did not directly push for a fourth round of coronavirus stimulus checks.
He did, however, make sure to point out that the latest $1,400 stimulus payments under his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan have provided critical support to many cash-strapped families.
“We kept our commitment, and we are sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85 percent of all American households,” Biden said. “We’ve already sent more than one hundred sixty million checks out the door. It’s making a difference. For many people, it’s making all the difference in the world.”
But what many concerned Americans are thinking is that once the last remaining third round of payments are completely sent out, they will be left to fend for themselves amid the ongoing pandemic.
Against this backdrop, about 2.1 million people already have signed a Change.org petition that calls for $2,000 recurring monthly stimulus checks to financially support Americans.
“I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis,” the petition stated. “Otherwise, laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table. … We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water.”
The petition seems to be consistent with Rep. Ilhan Omar’s statement last January: “A one-time payment of $2,000 is simply not enough. The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment by delivering monthly payments of $2,000.”
It also appears that recent data are supporting such claims. According to a survey conducted by Bankrate, it indicated that more than six in ten adults admit that the current $1,400 stimulus checks “won’t sustain their financial well-being for more than three months, as most plan to allocate proceeds toward covering monthly bills (45 percent), daily necessities such as food and supplies (36 percent), and outstanding debt (32 percent).”
In addition, about 20 percent of Americans have acknowledged that the stimulus checks won’t last a full month and another 14 percent said the funds won’t improve their current finances at all.
And in a separate research conducted by TransUnion, roughly four in ten Americans are still continuing to experience income loss compared to before the pandemic.
Some Washington lawmakers have taken note and pressed Biden for much of the year to quickly green-light recurring stimulus payments. In one particular letter, more than twenty Democratic senators pointed to polling data that showed that a majority of Americans strongly support recurring checks.
“Polling shows 65 percent of Americans support recurring cash payments ‘for the duration of the pandemic.’ This includes support from 54 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents. Economists support the idea too,” the letter stated.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.