A group of senators sent a letter to President Biden in late March, calling for additional stimulus checks, while a group of House members sent another letter in May. Meanwhile, a petition calling on Congress to give $2,000 a month to every American until the pandemic is over had received nearly 2.4 million signatures as of June 22.
“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% and many people face large debts from last year for things like utilities, rent and child care,” the change.org petition said. “These are all reasons that checks need to be targeted to people who are still struggling and that Congress needs to learn from this past year. It took nine months for Congress to send a second stimulus check, and just moments to spend it. Moving forward Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met.
However, it remains highly unlikely that a fourth stimulus check will reach the mailboxes or bank accounts of Americans this year, for a few big reasons.
The biggest reason is that the Biden Administration is not currently pushing for a fourth stimulus check. Any expenditure at that level would require the president to expend political capital to push it, and Biden has not done so. Instead, the Administration is concentrating on trying to pass two spending packages, the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, with the former possibly evolving into a bipartisan compromise on infrastructure spending. That compromise would not include stimulus checks.
In addition, Biden’s proposed federal budget does not include money for a fourth round of checks.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the possibility of a fourth check multiple times this spring. One of them, she answered that “we’ll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free.”
A fourth stimulus check, however, is not to be confused with the expanded child tax credit, another series of payments from the American Rescue Plan, which will provide Americans with payments beginning in July. The child tax credit money, however, will not be as universal as that of the $1,400 checks earlier this year, or for that matter the two stimulus checks that went out in 2020.
The Administration, in its American Families Plan, has also proposed extending that expanded child tax credit through 2025; it currently will only be available for 2021.
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.