An online petition created last year that calls on Congress to approve $2,000 monthly stimulus payments until the end of the coronavirus pandemic gained 85,000 signatures just last week, pushing its total number of supporters to almost 2.6 million.
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 less than 500,000 signatures away from its goal of three million.
“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 took nine months for Congress to send a second stimulus check, and just moments to spend it,” Bonin wrote in an updated version of the petition.
Bonin also recently told Newsweek that “the most common reason [people sign] is that uncertain feeling.”
“We’re still in uncertain times. . . . And it’s times like this that it feels like people go back into a fear-based life,” she added, referring to the Delta variant, which has become a common variation of the deadly virus among new cases.
The U.S. just surpassed 20,000 new infections for the fourth day in a row on Saturday, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned last week that the emerging variant could bring about an uptick in areas with low vaccination rates.
“I’m concerned as this variant becomes more dominant, those select areas of the country that have a very low level of vaccination, like 30 percent or so, you're going to start seeing mini-surges that are localized to certain regions,” he said on Friday.
The petition launched amid the first deadly wave of infections during former President Donald Trump’s administration when Congress supplied eligible Americans with two stimulus payments, one worth $1,200 and one that could be as much as $600.
President Joe Biden later approved $1,400 direct 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.
“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.”
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.