For over the past year, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have had to multitask to successfully disburse three rounds of coronavirus stimulus checks to cash-starved Americans.
However, what recent polls and surveys are showing is that millions of Americans are still financially struggling to pay for their basic necessities like child care, groceries, utilities, and the rent or mortgage.
Against this troubling backdrop, seven more Democrats part of the influential House Ways and Means Committee—led by Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California—recently sent off an urgent letter to President Joe Biden that pressed him to include recurring direct stimulus checks in his highly ambitious $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that was unveiled last month.
“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis,” they wrote.
“They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” they continued.
In all, more than eighty Democrats in Congress have shown their support for more direct stimulus payments to better assist financially wounded Americans.
According to a recent report conducted by the Economic Security Project, it revealed that additional rounds of stimulus have the potential to lift twelve million Americans out of poverty. Roughly thirty-four million people live in poverty in the United States, U.S. Census Bureau data show.
“Evidence from the last year shows stimulus checks to be the fastest and most impactful investments helping Americans get through this crisis, lifting more people out of poverty than any other single policy,” the report said.
Moreover, another analysis completed by the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute & Brookings Institution suggested that just one more round of stimulus has the potential to lift more than seven million people out poverty, while TransUnion’s research revealed that approximately four in ten Americans are still continuing to experience income loss compared to before the start of the pandemic.
According to a separate survey conducted by Bankrate, it found that the majority of the stimulus money continues to be spent on groceries, rent, and other monthly bills. Also high on the list is paying off outstanding debt.
“For all the talk of revenge spending and pent-up demand for travel, you wouldn’t know it by seeing just 13 percent of stimulus check recipients indicating that any of the money would be spent on discretionary activities or nonessential items,” Greg McBride, Bankrate’s chief financial analyst, said in a statement.
“Stimulus continues to be a bit of a misnomer, with households predominantly using the money to pay monthly bills and provide day-to-day essentials,” he added.
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.