A possible fourth stimulus check remains a popular topic with the third round of economic relief payments almost concluded. About 161 million payments of up to $1,400 per person have been issued since the third stimulus package passed in mid-March. Paper checks and EIP cards continue to continue to show up in mailboxes. And plus-up payments, for those who didn’t receive what they were due, have also been going out for weeks. Together they add up to most of the $422 billion allotted in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.
These relief payments are part of a larger effort to cushion COVID’s economic impact on households and support the economy while the pandemic recovery continues. The stimulus package also extends unemployment benefits, enhances the child tax credit, and much more. The recent round of checks follows the $1,200 CARES Act payments at the pandemic’s outset and the $600 payments from January.
A group of Democratic Senators, including Ron Wyden of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, recently sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting “recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions.”
As the Senators reasoned in their letter, “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.”
An earlier letter to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris from 53 Representatives, led by Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, staked out a similar position. “Recurring direct payments until the economy recovers will help ensure that people can meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession.”
Additional co-signers included New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, two other notable names among House Progressives. The letter didn’t place a number on the requested stimulus payments. But a tweet soon after put it at $2,000 per month for the length of the pandemic.
$2,000 monthly payments until the pandemic is over. https://t.co/6tuia6prFJ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 28, 2021
A majority of Americans also favor recurring relief payments. According to a January poll from the Data For Progress, nearly two-thirds of all voters support $2,000 monthly payments to all Americans for the length of the pandemic. Supporters include a majority of Independents and Republicans. The Urban Institute estimates that another stimulus payment could reduce poverty by at least 6.4 percent in 2021. Many economists are also onboard. A 2020 open letter from experts in the field argued “direct cash payments are an essential tool that will boost economic security, drive consumer spending, hasten the recovery, and promote certainty at all levels of government and the economy – for as long as necessary.”