Several congressional Democrats are ramping up pressure on the White House to pass a fourth-round or recurring stimulus payments.
The lawmakers argue that the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan’s checks will help prevent twelve million people from entering poverty this year, along with the extended unemployment insurance featured in the bill, which reportedly will keep another five million people out of poverty.
“A fourth and fifth stimulus check could keep an additional twelve million out of poverty,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers added that the effects of Biden’s new bill, as well as additional stimulus payments, could reduce poverty by nearly twenty-eight million people.
The letter also mentioned that the additional direct relief would help the economy swiftly recover, as recipients would spend the funds, filtering the money back into the economy.
But recent reports unveiled by the Internal Revenue Service, which were obtained by the Boston Herald, indicated that a sweeping 1.24 million stimulus payments haven’t been spent “from the first coronavirus-era bailout.”
The IRS noted, according to the publication, that the figures reflect “the number of people who either refused to accept, paid back or not cashed the stimulus checks they received from the IRS as a result of the CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020” by former President Donald Trump.
The Herald uncovered that California is leading the country in terms of the number of unspent stimulus payments at 123,265, followed by Florida with 92,018, and Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania ranking among the top five.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, however, estimated that some of the direct aid could be remaining unspent because of slow demand or due to a lack of updated data.
Although Democrats have urged the Biden administration to pass recurring stimulus payments, the president hasn’t indicated whether he backs the big-spending measure. Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki balked at signaling support for another round of direct relief.
“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. “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.”
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.