If twenty-one Senate Democrats have their way, stimulus checks could be directly deposited in millions of Americans’ bank accounts on a recurring basis.
Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and twenty other senators are urging President Joe Biden to include recurring direct payments in his “Build Back Better” legislation that is slated to be unveiled on Wednesday.
“We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan,” the senators’ letter to the president read.
“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. … This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions,” they added.
The effort to send even more monetary support to financially struggling Americans comes weeks after economic stimulus payments under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan began arriving in a hundred twenty-seven million bank accounts and mailboxes. The measure also provides an additional $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits through September 6.
To date, Congress over the past year has already green-lighted the delivery of three coronavirus relief checks to most Americans—a $1,200 check in April 2020, $600 in December, and the current $1,400 payments.
The senators also pointed to recent polling data that revealed that a majority of Americans strongly support recurring stimulus payments.
“Polling shows 65 percent of Americans support recurring cash payments ‘for the duration of the pandemic.’ This includes support from 54 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents. Economists support the idea too,” they wrote.
Even before the American Rescue Plan was signed by the president, there was increasing chatter in Washington regarding another round of stimulus checks to help lift the economy out of the grips of the ongoing pandemic.
“Another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary lifeline, but when that money runs out, families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities,” fifty Democratic members of the House of Representatives stated in a letter.
“One more check is not enough during this public health and economic crisis,” they added.
In a January press release, Rep. Ilhan Omar noted: “A one-time payment of $2,000 is simply not enough. The American people are counting on us to deliver transformative change, and we need to meet the moment by delivering monthly payments of $2,000.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.