Many Americans have and are continuing to struggle financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government has provided stimulus payments and other emergency relief measures to help individuals in need, but many are still struggling. As a result, lawmakers and millions of Americans themselves have been pushing for another round of financial support, either in the form of a fourth stimulus check or recurring monthly payments. Read on for a guide to the latest status on additional COVID-19 stimulus measures.
STIMULUS CHECKS TO DATE
Let us begin with a review of the stimulus checks provided to date. Thus far, there have been three rounds of stimulus checks paid out. Federal distributions of stimulus payments have been as follows:
- March 2020 – $1,200 stimulus checks
- December 2020 – $600 stimulus checks
- March 2021 – $1,400 stimulus checks
These stimulus checks were distributed in the form of direct payments to many Americans across the country, largely based on annual individual or household income thresholds. In addition, the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan initiated child tax credits in the amount of $300 per month per child aged 5 or younger and $250 per month per child aged 6-17.
THE PUSH FOR A FOURTH STIMULUS CHECK CONTINUES
While these three stimulus checks boosted those who received them, many people are still experiencing significant financial struggles. To date, 80 Democratic lawmakers have publicly expressed their support for a fourth stimulus check, and many of those have also voiced support for $2,000 recurring monthly payments. Thus far, an online petition on Change.org calling for these recurring payments has seen over 2.63 million signatures, with a goal of 3 million in total. These recurring monthly payments would in theory go directly to low-income individuals.
Given that so many Americans are struggling financially, combined with the fact that the child tax credits are set to expire in 2022, there is a big push on the part of the Biden administration and the Democratic party to pass further stimulus. Specifically, they aim to push through recurring monthly payments via the $3.5 million “human infrastructure” proposal.
Republican lawmakers are largely opposed to such a huge spending package and are attempting to push back against another round of stimulus payments. While the “human infrastructure” proposal may be met with opposition, along with the recurring monthly payments included in it, Democrats may attempt to use budget reconciliation to bypass the support that would otherwise be needed from the Republicans to pass such a measure.
Overall, there is no debating the fact that many Americans continue to struggle the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But how to combat this and come up with a solution to address these financial issues is where many lawmakers differ. Some believe that continued spending on stimulus support is the way to go, while others are staunchly opposed. As is the case with most hot button issues, lawmakers will continue to debate head-to-head the best strategies to get Americans back on their feet.