Here's What You Need to Remember: Congress already has approved the delivery of three direct cash payments to most eligible Americans—a $1,200 check in the spring of 2020, $600 in December, and the current $1,400 payments under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
While this might be music to the ears of those still financially struggling Americans out there amid the ongoing pandemic, there appears to be no truth to the fact that a fourth round of stimulus will become a reality.
Keep in mind to date, Congress already has approved the delivery of three direct cash payments to most eligible Americans—a $1,200 check in the spring of 2020, $600 in December, and the current $1,400 payments under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Do take note that Biden had the opportunity to push for another round of stimulus last month before Congress, but he decided against it. And more recently, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was also noncommittal regarding future stimulus checks.
“We’ll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free,” she told reporters.
Pouring more cold water on those potential checks is the fact that the Labor Department recently reported that the U.S. jobs market creeped even closer to its pre-pandemic levels—as initial jobless claims totaled just over four hundred thousand for the week ending May 22. The number marked a sizeable decline from the previous week’s four hundred forty-four thousand claims. In addition, the Commerce Department confirmed that it will leave its optimistic estimate on first-quarter gross domestic product unchanged at 6.4 percent.
Despite such positive news surrounding the U.S. economy, there are still dozens of lawmakers pressing the White House to quickly approve a fourth or even a fifth round of stimulus.
Two weeks ago, seven Democrats within the influential House Ways and Means Committee sent off a letter to Biden that pressed him to include recurring direct payments in his nearly $2 trillion American Families Plan.
“The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis,” they wrote. “They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.”
Also, in March, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden and other Democratic senators contended in another letter that “a single direct payment will not last long for most families.” They also pointed to polling data that showed that 65 percent of Americans support recurring stimulus payments. “This includes support from 54 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents. Economists support the idea too,” the senators wrote.
Ordinary cash-strapped citizens are taking action as well. In one such example, more than 2.2 million people already have signed a Change.org petition that is demanding $2,000 recurring monthly stimulus checks.
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.
This article first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.