“We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan,” the letter from the senators said. “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 timelines and ad hoc solutions.”
The signatories to the letter included several major senators from the Democratic Senate caucus’ more progressive wing, including Ron Wyden of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Alex Padilla of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Michael Bennett of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
The idea of the letter, per a CBS News analysis, is that the pandemic is not officially over, and $1,400 payments aren’t likely to tide many people over for long.
CBS also said that the passage of a fourth stimulus is unlikely, at least in the short term, with the Biden Administration and Congressional allies concentrating on the infrastructure package as its next major legislative priority. And there has been little indication that the Biden Administration supports including checks in the infrastructure plan, as they were not included in the first batch of proposals introduced by the president last week.
Fourth round of checks or not, there remain positive economic indicators, and CBS cited a recent shareholder letter from Jamie Dimon, the CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase, predicting positive economic times ahead.
“I have little doubt that with excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more QE, a new potential infrastructure bill, a successful vaccine and euphoria around the end of the pandemic, the U.S. economy will likely boom,” Dimon wrote. “This boom could easily run into 2023 because all the spending could extend well into 2023. The permanent effect of this boom will be fully known only when we see the quality, effectiveness and sustainability of the infrastructure and other government investments.”
Of course, as is often the case with the U.S. economy, the concern will be whether the benefits of an improved economic picture will serve to help those lower on the economic ladder.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.