That likely means in a few short weeks, the “stimulus well” will have run dry, leaving millions of cash-strapped Americans to fend for themselves amid the ongoing pandemic.
Amid this uncertainty, there is a growing number of ordinary citizens who are stepping up to the plate and demanding recurring monthly stimulus checks until the health crisis ends. That Change.org petition, which already has garnered more than 2.4 million signatures, is fewer than six hundred thousand away from hitting its three-million target.
“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. 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,” says the petition, which was started by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin.
“Our country is still deeply struggling. The recovery hasn’t reached many Americans—the true unemployment rate for low-wage workers is estimated at over 20 percent and many people face large debts from last year for things like utilities, rent and child care. … Moving forward Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met,” it adds.
The petition also contends that for many Americans, unemployment checks alone aren’t nearly enough to pay for basic necessities like food and utilities.
“For our team and other Americans who can claim unemployment, even the maximum payments will not be enough for most people to continue paying their bills—and avoid slipping into poverty,” it states.
“The facts are, even successful small businesses can’t go months with their doors closed. But supplying Americans with monthly support until they can get back on their feet can save our communities from financial ruin,” it continues.
Recent studies are also pointing to the fact that the three rounds of stimulus checks have helped millions of Americans avoid complete financial ruin.
“Our analyses thus far have yielded a fairly simple story: throughout the crisis, the level of hardship faced by U.S. households can be directly linked to the federal government’s response,” University of Michigan researchers wrote in one recent study.
It appears that some Washington lawmakers are finally listening to the heartfelt demands for more financial assistance.
“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis,” several members of the House Ways and Means Committee wrote in a letter to Biden. “They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.”
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.