Stimulus Check Petition Crosses 2.5 Million Signatures. Will Biden Act?

July 7, 2021 Topic: Stimulus Checks Region: Americas Blog Brand: Politics Tags: Stimulus CheckPetitionSignaturesPandemicEconomy

Stimulus Check Petition Crosses 2.5 Million Signatures. Will Biden Act?

But it won’t matter.


In March 2020, as state and local lockdowns began to take effect in response to the coronavirus entering the United States, a Colorado restaurant owner named Stephanie Bonin was forced to close her doors. With the loss of livelihood and widespread economic uncertainty, Bonin became attracted to the idea of a recurring stimulus check as a way to ensure stability throughout the pandemic. To test the idea for others, she started a petition calling for recurring stimulus payments—$2,000 per month per adult, and $1,000 per child—for the duration of the pandemic. 

Most petitions collect a handful of signatures and are forgotten. Bonin’s, however, received attention from the media, and consequently gained hundreds of thousands of signatures overnight. Today, more than a year after it was put forward, the petition has 2.5 million signatories. The petition gained roughly 100,000 signatures in the last week alone. If this rate persists, then the petition should gain 3 million signatures by the start of the fall. petitions are not a basis for legislation. However, the sheer number of signatories should give elected officials pause. The number of signatories—roughly 2.5 million people—represents roughly 1.5 percent of the American voting electorate. That’s assuming no one signed twice and all signatures come from eligible voters in the United States. Given the narrow margins by which presidential races are won and lost in the modern era, politicians should take note of how popular the measure appears to be. Indeed, more than eighty Democratic legislators on Capitol Hill have publicly announced that they would support a fourth stimulus check. That number includes roughly sixty representatives and twenty senators.

But it won’t matter. While the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has supported another stimulus proposal, the moderate wing has largely ignored it in favor of other priorities, such as President Joe Biden’s twin infrastructure bills. Republicans have criticized these bills on the basis of their cost, and a fourth stimulus proposal identical to the last one would add $450 billion to the mix.  

Biden has all but confirmed that he is not seeking a fourth stimulus measure. The president has been broadly supportive of programs designed to place cash in the hands that need it, but with a greater degree of targeting than a stimulus check to all Americans. For instance, advance payments of the Child Tax Credit are slated to be sent out to eligible parents next week. Parents will receive up to $3,600 per child in a household, depending on their age. 

Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest. 

Image: Reuters