Almost since the passing of the American Rescue Plan in March, with its $1,400 stimulus checks, there has been a push to pass more such checks.
Some of that push has come from interest groups, while other parts of it have come from petition drives. But the idea has also come from some members of Congress.
That support has mostly come in the form of a pair of letters.
On March, 21 U.S. Senators, all Democrats with the exception of Democrat-caucusing independent Bernie Sanders, called for additional stimulus checks.
“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 senators wrote in the March letter. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.” Those senators also included Ron Wyden of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Dick Durbin of Illinois and others.
Another letter followed a few months later, this time from members of the House. Seven Democratic House members, led by Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California, wrote a letter in early May, calling for additional direct payments, as well as “automatic stabilizers,” which would put aid in place in future crises.
“Direct payments and enhanced UI are among the most effective forms of relief available. Not only do they help keep families and workers out of poverty, they act as economic stimulus by increasing spending and supporting jobs,” the Gomez letter said.
“When the CARES Act relief checks ran out, poverty rose, and many families and workers experienced spiraling debt. Automatic stabilizers will give families and workers certainty that relief is coming. Families and workers shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’ll have enough money to pay for essentials in the months ahead as the country continues to fight a global pandemic and recession.”
Other signers of the letter included Rep. Donald S. Beyer of Virginia, Rep. Judy Chu of California, Rep. Bradley Schneider of Illinois, Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and Rep. Jimmy Panetta of California.
Does this mean more stimulus checks are coming? Far from it. Despite all those signatories on the letters, there doesn’t appear to be enough support in Congress for an additional round of checks, nor has the Biden Administration proposed them.
The Administration is pushing a pair of big legislative packages, the American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan, and that is expected to form its major agenda for most of 2021, and neither plan includes an additional round of direct checks. The Families Plan, however, does extend the expanded child tax credit through 2025.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver