As the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department wind down their disbursement of coronavirus stimulus checks and turn their focus to the new and expanded child tax credits, several petitions demanding recurring monthly payments have collectively amassed more than three million signatures.
The largest petition, which was started by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, recently reached 2.5 million signatures, and there are at least five other similar petitions out there that want President Joe Biden and Congress to act quickly on green-lighting another round of stimulus package.
“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,” Bonin writes in the petition, which has a goal of three million signatures.
“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. Our country is still deeply struggling. The recovery hasn’t reached many Americans,” she continues.
She also asserts that for many low-income Americans, unemployment checks alone aren’t enough to pay for all basic necessities like the groceries and child care. Making matters worse is the fact that roughly half of the states have dropped the federally enhanced $300 unemployment benefits that were approved under Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
“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. 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,” the petition contends.
It appears that several influential members of the House Ways and Means Committee would like more rounds of stimulus payments to become a reality.
“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis,” they said in a recent letter to Biden. “They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.”
There will, however, be more financial help on the way beginning July 15, as that’s the date when the first payments from the expanded child tax credits should start reaching eligible parents.
The president’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill allows families to claim a credit of up to $3,600 per year for a child under the age of six and up to $3,000 for children between ages six and seventeen—amounting to a $250 or $300 cash payment per child every month through the end of the year.
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.