As several congressional Democrats have boosted pressure on the Biden administration to pass either a one-time direct check or recurring stimulus payments, White House press secretary Jen Psaki poured cold water on the idea last week.
“He’s happy to hear from a range of ideas on what would be most effective and what’s most important to the economy moving forward,” Psaki said, referring to President Joe Biden. “But he’s also proposed what he thinks is going to be the most effective for the short term for putting people back to work, to getting through this pivotal period of time, and also to making us more competitive in the long term.”
Democrats have pointed to the economic and social benefits from the first three rounds of stimulus payments, like preventing millions of people from entering poverty and helping recipients pay for basic essentials including food and rent.
Congressional Republicans and some economists, however, argue that additional direct relief is not needed, citing that the loads of government aid sent out so far have promoted widespread labor shortages.
A May 28 White House fact sheet also outlined the budget for fiscal year 2022, which revealed Biden's two legislative priorities, the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan, and did not indicate support for another stimulus payment. Though, it is possible that the president could push for additional direct payments targeted toward low-income individuals and families, if enough Democrats come together in support of the measure.
Several Democrats in the House and Senate have written to Biden, pushing him to authorize another one-time or recurring stimulus payments.
In late March, 21 Senate Democrats sent a letter to the president, insisting that the Biden administration provide recurring payments and automatic unemployment insurance linked to economic conditions.
“While we are pleased that the American Rescue Plan included a one-time direct payment and an extension of federal unemployment insurance programs, a single direct payment will not last long for most families, and we are worried about the cliff facing unemployed workers when the unemployment insurance extensions expire on September 6,” the lawmakers wrote.
A separate effort by a group of members of the House Ways and Means Committee made a similar plea, urging Biden to “prioritize both automatic UI extensions and recurring direct payments tied to economic conditions.”
“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis. They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. They should not be at the mercy of constantly shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions,” the lawmakers wrote.
While Biden hasn’t expressed support for another round of stimulus payments, he has called on Congress to extend the expanded child tax credit through 2025.
The president’s coronavirus relief package sent qualifying families up to $3,600 per child, while also widening the dependent eligibility pool. The payments will be sent out monthly by the IRS, with the first one set to be sent out in July.
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.