Following the IRS’ announcement that it had begun the distribution of an eight batch of stimulus checks, the most recent stimulus campaign has seen over 164 million payments totaling roughly $386 billion deposited into the hands of Americans.
In addition to the current third round of payments, the government has also sent direct payments of both $1,200 and $600 to millions of Americans. These stimulus payment campaigns have been tremendously important with regards to supporting American families through the pandemic and for jumpstarting an economic recovery.
The third-round of payments, which involved larger payments and which coincided with both greater rates of vaccination and reopening in many parts of the country, has been particularly impactful. This most recent round of stimulus payments has helped to reinvigorate the economy by boosting both consumer spending and personal income, which in turn has led to fewer new jobless claims and growth in the first-quarter GDP. The success of the third round of stimulus payments has not been lost on the general public, with recent polling suggesting that a majority of Americans have a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden’s stimulus program.
Even with the success of the stimulus payment campaign, many American’s economic well-being and security for the remainder of the pandemic are still dependent on stimulus money. This has led to a growing chorus of voices both in and out of government calling for a further round of stimulus payments, with many even calling for regular monthly payments.
Given both the popularity of the stimulus payment campaign as well as the vocal demand for additional payments, it should seem likely that the Biden administration would look favorably at the possibility of further payments.
Perhaps not. White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently addressed questions about the possibility of a fourth round of direct federal stimulus payments. According to Psaki, further stimulus payments are dependent on a proposal from Congress. Psaki also acknowledged that future direct stimulus payments would be very costly.
The White House’s deferral to Congress should cast doubt on the possibility of a fourth round of stimulus payments, at least in the near future. Republicans in Congress have shown little support for the idea of additional payments, and it is unlikely that any such proposal would generate support from the at least 10 Republican Senators that would be required to prevent a filibuster.
Instead, the White House is focusing its efforts on generating support for its two proposed tax and spending bills that it argues will support long-term economic recovery and growth.