Approximately one hundred sixty-three million coronavirus stimulus checks, valued at about $384 billion, already have been sent out so far—but it appears that millions of Americans are clamoring for even more financial assistance.
In his speech before Congress on Wednesday night, President Joe Biden brought up several examples regarding how the latest $1,400 stimulus checks under his American Rescue Plan provided critical support to financially wounded American families.
“A single mom in Texas who wrote me, she said she couldn’t work,” Biden said. “She said the relief check put food on the table and saved her and her son from eviction from their apartment.”
Similar stories abound, despite the fact that Congress has already approved the delivery of three stimulus cash payments—a $1,200 check in April 2020, $600 in December, and the current $1,400 payments under Biden’s $1.9 trillion legislation.
Recently, more than two million citizens have signed an online petition calling for new $2,000 stimulus payments for adults and $1,000 checks for children. It’s also asking for recurring payments for as long as the pandemic lasts.
“We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water,” the petition stated. “Congress needs to make sure that we won’t be left financially ruined for doing our part to keep the country healthy.”
The site added: “My family has lost all of the income from our restaurant, and business owners and the self-employed can’t claim unemployment. This is the story of America right now.”
It appears that many Washington lawmakers have taken note of the ongoing financial struggles. In late March, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and twenty other Democratic senators urged Biden to include recurring direct payments in his “Build Back Better” legislation.
“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 read. “While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families.”
They continued: “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.”
Also, more help could be on the way if Biden’s highly ambitious $1.8 trillion American Families Plan eventually gets green-lighted, which would further expand the child tax credit. It could potentially give parents roughly $16,000 of cash per child, with parents with children living at home receiving a monthly $300 check per each child through the end of 2025.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.