The IRS is approaching the end of its campaign to distribute the third round of direct federal stimulus payments worth up to $1,400 to eligible Americans, having now sent out almost 167 million payments worth a total of roughly $391 billion. These payments have proven to be very effective at helping to jumpstart economic recovery in the United States.
As the distribution of stimulus payments winds down, a growing number of Americans are calling for additional payments. A number of online petitions advocating for a further round of payments, or even regular recurring payments sent out monthly for the duration of the pandemic, now collectively hold over 2.6 million signatures. Amid this growing public support, there are both reasons for optimism and skepticism regarding the possibility of a fourth stimulus payment.
Another Stimulus Payment Could Still Happen
For those hoping to see a fourth round of stimulus payments, there are reasons to believe that such a measure could still come to pass. Support for additional payments has for months existed among some members of Congress, with a number of Democrats in the House of Representatives demonstrating their support for further payments as far back as January in a letter sent to President Biden and Vice President Harris. A similar letter sent to the Biden administration signed by twenty-one Senate Democrats also called for additional payments, as did a more recent letter that came from Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee. In total, some eighty Democrats in Congress have indicated support for a fourth round of stimulus payments.
While the Biden administration has previously seemed to dismiss the possibility of a fourth round of payments, the White House has more recently suggested that it may in fact be open to such an idea. White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently commented that President Biden is open to “a range of ideas” on how to continue to heal the American economy. Further research into the efficacy of stimulus payments is also helping to further fuel support for an additional round of payments.
Despite the growing momentum for a fourth round of payments, it still appears unlikely that such a measure will come into being in the near future. Any such proposal, whether it is presented on its own or if it is tacked on to one of the Biden administration’s proposed tax and spending bills, would face significant resistance in Congress. Despite Democratic control of the House, a filibuster in the Senate would be all but guaranteed, while it appears unlikely that Democrats would be able to generate support from the at least 10 Senate Republicans that would be necessary to prevent such an outcome.
Eli Fuhrman is a contributing writer for The National Interest.