For much of the past month, many Americans have voiced their concerns that more rounds of coronavirus stimulus checks are needed to financially assist those who are still suffering due to the ongoing pandemic.
Know that in addition to President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, there were two other Congress-approved direct cash payments sent out to most Americans—a $1,200 check in the spring of 2020 and $600 in December. Recently, there has been plenty of talk surrounding a fourth or even a fifth round of stimulus, but it appears that this becoming a reality is getting less likely as days and weeks go by.
Amid this uncertain backdrop, ordinary citizens are taking action in an effort to have their voices heard by Washington lawmakers. One particular Change.org petition, which has already garnered nearly 2.3 million signatures, is asserting that the current third round of stimulus checks should only be the beginning of such payments—and that they should continue on a monthly basis until the pandemic is over.
“I’m calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis,” stated the petition, which was launched by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin.
“Our country is still deeply struggling. 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. 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 continued.
The petition added that unemployment checks alone aren’t nearly enough to help many Americans pay for their basic everyday needs.
“For our team and other Americans who can claim unemployment, even the maximum payments will not be enough for most people to continue paying their bills—and avoid slipping into poverty. The facts are, even successful small businesses can’t go months with their doors closed,” it said.
“But supplying Americans with monthly support until they can get back on their feet can save our communities from financial ruin. We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water. Congress needs to make sure that we won’t be left financially ruined for doing our part to keep the country healthy,” the petition added.
It appears that many Democratic lawmakers are hearing these calls for more financial assistance, as some members of the House Ways and Means Committee recently penned a letter calling for recurring direct payments in Biden’s American Families Plan.
“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis,” they said. “They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.”
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.