Almost one in seventy voters have signed an online petition that calls on Congress to send $2,000 monthly stimulus payments until the coronavirus pandemic is over.
The Change.org petition, created in 2020 by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, directly addresses the House and the Senate, urging both congressional chambers to draft a bill that would provide “$2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payment for kids” until the pandemic subsides.
The petition has over 2.5 million signatures, roughly 500,000 signatures short of its goal of three million.
That means that roughly one in seventy voters have signed the petition, as the U.S. Census Bureau reported that just over 168.31 million people registered to vote in 2020.
Bonin created the petition following the closure of her restaurant due to the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.
“Our country is still deeply struggling,” she wrote in an updated version of the petition.
“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,” Bonin added. “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.”
Eligible direct payment recipients have received three separate rounds of checks since the onset of the pandemic. The most recent direct payment was authorized under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, where recipients saw $1,400 checks, some of which are still being sent out by the IRS.
Former President Donald Trump also signed off on stimulus payments last year, as eligible Americans received $1,200 from the first round of federal aid and $600 from the second.
“Moving forward Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met. No more waiting around for our government to send the help we need,” Bonin wrote. “Sign to join our movement to get recurring checks to the people.”
Bonin previously told Newsweek that she is “confident” that the petition will hit its goal of three million signatures.
“People like me who have never had to go onto an assistance program are living an experience we've never lived and I think it's a unifying thing,” she said. “When people unify we can move mountains.”
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.