As a large portion of Americans still wait for their third stimulus check, people are starting to wonder how they are going to make their ends meet and whether there are prospects of a fourth stimulus check.
Will another check make a difference for people who have suffered immensely from the COVID-19 pandemic or will it just become a stepping stone to yet another payout?
It has been almost two weeks since president Joe Biden signed the American Relief Plan bill and some still haven’t received their second and third stimulus checks, but google searches are burning with the question of will there be a fourth stimulus check and when.
Senate support for a fourth stimulus check
Fifty Democratic US representatives and 11 members of the US Senate are pressing president Joe Biden to support a fourth stimulus check and even more after that because they say many Americans are still struggling more than a year into the coronavirus crisis.
“One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis,” says the letter from the House Democrats. It doesn’t suggest a dollar amount for recurring payments, but Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted in January that the government should provide 2,000 dollars per month to carry people through the pandemic.
In their letter, the senators – including Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders – write that the crisis is far from over “and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads”.
Americans are using the funds to buy food and household supplies, pay rent and utility bills and make car payments, according to new data from the Census Bureau. They are also paying down debt and saving more than they have in decades, as seen in the below table from CNBC.
Fourth stimulus payments may be possible
The idea of an additional stimulus check is attracting a lot of attention, according to financial forecasters.
Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell last week told members of Congress “the recovery is far from complete” and indicated that stimulus checks and other aid weren’t likely to drive up inflation.
According to Yahoo Finance, many experts believe that the possibility of fourth stimulus payments or even monthly checks could happen.
“There will likely need to be further stimulus spending in the hundreds of billion dollars,” says Stanley Litow, a professor at Columbia and Duke, in a column for Barron’s.
However, given the backlash the third stimulus check received from Republicans, as they deemed the check expensive and unnecessary, we can forbode the resistance a fourth stimulus check would have to face if it was really in the works. Even moderate Democrats demanded changes for the third round to “target” the stimulus checks toward the Americans most in need. The Biden rescue plan cleared Congress without any backing from Republicans, despite polling that found broad public support.
Democrats lobby for fourth stimulus payment
A group of Democratic senators sent out a petition requesting the president to budget for more money for direct stimulus payments.
“As you prepare your Build Back Better plan for long-term economic recovery, know that we are ready to work with you in support of recurring direct checks,” the senators wrote in a March letter to Biden.
“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. Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative.”
In their petition, the senators outlined why unemployment insurance, despite its necessity, may not reach out far enough as many still retain jobs with reduced hours, some may have switched to lower-paying jobs and some have temporarily left the workforce to care for family members during the pandemic.
“Another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out then families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities,” the letter went on to add. “One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis.”
So, whether or not there will be a fourth stimulus check is still in the works. The Biden administration has dubbed the next possible aid as the Build Back Better plan, where the proposal aims to invest in the nation’s energy grid, transportation, broadband and water systems and may not include stimulus checks – despite the urging of progressive senators for the next round of stimulus checks.