Key point: America has already had three rounds of stimulus. Would there be the political will for a fourth or fifth round?
President Joe Biden on Wednesday is expected to speak before Congress and outline his ambitious plans to boost the economy, help rebuild infrastructure, and offer increased funding for education, child care, and paid family leave.
Known as the American Families Plan, the massive $1.8 trillion proposal may also set aside billions of dollars for cash-strapped Americans amid the ongoing pandemic—perhaps a fourth or even a fifth round of coronavirus stimulus checks?
However, right now it is unclear whether Biden will, in fact, include more stimulus payments, as both he and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki have stayed mostly silent on that issue. Maybe hopes shouldn’t be that high considering that Congress has already approved the delivery of three stimulus cash payments to eligible Americans—a $1,200 check in April 2020, $600 in December, and the current $1,400 payments.
There are, though, plenty of optimists who believe that another round of stimulus checks is in the offing. From the start of his presidential campaign, Biden has made it crystal clear that he seeks to stimulate the economy from every angle to get the United States out of the yearlong grip of the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, for much of this year, many Washington lawmakers and economists throughout the country have urged Biden to quickly green-light another round of stimulus payments to help ease the sufferings of millions of low-income Americans.
Just last month, twenty-one Democratic senators signed off on a letter that supports giving out recurring stimulus payments. “We urge (Biden) 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 wrote.
They also cited polling data that showed that a majority of Americans 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,” the senators wrote.
As for this current round of stimulus payments, already more than 85 percent of the $450 billion total earmarked have been sent out. But what recent data is telling is that many Americans will continue to suffer financially into the summer and fall without more monetary assistance.
A recent survey conducted by Bankrate indicated that more than six in ten adults admit the current stimulus payments “won’t sustain their financial well-being for more than three months, as most plan to allocate proceeds toward covering monthly bills, daily necessities such as food and supplies, and outstanding debt.”
In addition, about 20 percent of Americans have acknowledged that the stimulus funds won’t last a full month and another 14 percent said the payments won’t improve their current finances at all.
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 first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.