An online petition created last year that calls on Congress to send $2,000 monthly stimulus payments until the end of the coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 2.5 million signatures.
The Change.org petition, developed by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, directly addresses the House and Senate, pushing lawmakers to craft a bill that would provide “$2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payment for kids” until the pandemic subsides.
The petition is roughly 500,000 signatures short of its goal of three million.
“Our country is still deeply struggling,” Bonin 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,” she 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.”
Bonin 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.”
The federal government has already sent out three rounds of direct relief to low- and- middle- income households since the start of the crisis.
President Joe Biden approved $1,400 stimulus payments for individuals earning up to $75,000 annually, as well as couples making less than $150,000 annually and heads of households earning up to $112,500. The relief package sends an additional $1,400 per qualifying dependent.
Congress also approved two pandemic overhauls during former President Donald Trump’s time in the White House, sending Americans $1,200 from the Cares Act passed in March and $600 from a December pandemic measure.
“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.”
The growing support for the petition comes as groups of congressional Democrats have called on the White House to pass recurring payments, arguing that the first three rounds of direct relief were not enough to help Americans crawl out of the financial turmoil caused by the pandemic.
But there is little widespread congressional support for such a measure, making it unlikely that recurring stimulus payments would pass.
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.