So far, three rounds of stimulus payments have been sent out – $1,200 in March 2020, $600 in December, and, most recently, $1,400 in March 2021, with the approval of the American Rescue Plan Act and the bill’s signing into law by President Joe Biden.
Payments of the third stimulus check continue to go out; on Wednesday, the IRS announced that it had sent out an additional 2.2 million checks, at a cost of more than $4 billion. However, most Americans have already received and spent their stimulus checks, and calls for a fourth check have proven surprisingly resilient. More than 80 House and Senate Democrats have announced their support for a measure, including most of the legislators associated with the progressive wing of the party. A Change.org petition calling for monthly $2,000 stimulus checks recently crossed 2.6 million signatures, making it one of the website’s largest.
By now, it is clear that, barring an extraordinary event, a fourth stimulus check will not be passed. In the past month, President Biden negotiated a $1 trillion compromise infrastructure bill with Senate Republicans, theoretically averting the danger of a Senate filibuster. Senate Democrats have also pushed for a second, larger infrastructure bill to be passed through “reconciliation,” a filibuster-proof procedure that is not intended to be used regularly. More importantly, the economic recovery, anemic during Biden’s first months in office, has begun to pick up in speed, undercutting the need for a fourth stimulus check.
Independent of any actions on Capitol Hill, rumors have circulated on social media that the IRS will send out a fourth round of stimulus payments, totaling $2,500 apiece, by July 30.
This information, however, is false. It appears to be a classic instance of “fake news” – information designed to circulate quickly and gain attention before fact-checking organizations catch up.
The post in question does not appear to be politically motivated, though, and is fairly transparent about its deception. At the end, a link is included to an article which supposedly “tells you what you need to do to get yours direct deposited and how to receive it quicker and how to track it”. If users click on the link, they are redirected to an image of an ape giving them the middle finger.
The moral of this story? Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for The National Interest.