ORLANDO, Fla. - Millions of Americans have received three stimulus checks to help ease hardships during the coronavirus pandemic. Now that much of the country is reopening and getting back to regular business, is a fourth check out of the question?
Not necessarily. Over 80 members of Congress continue to call for more relief money, although President Joe Biden has not committed to approving another round of ‘stimmy’ checks.
In a letter signed by 7 members of the House Ways and Means Committee in May, lawmakers are pushing for recurring stimulus checks to help keep millions out of poverty.
"The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis," the letter says. "They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads."
According to a recent survey, the last rounds of stimulus checks helped improve Americans’ ability to buy food, pay bills and reduced anxiety and depression. So far, over 2 million people have signed an online Change.org petition calling for recurring $2,000 per month payments.
"It took nine months for Congress to send a second stimulus check, and just moments to spend it. Moving forward Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met," the petition reads.
Starting in July, the IRS plans to begin distributing up to $300 a month per child in an expansion of the child tax credit authorized under President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.
However, many in Washington argue that as the economy improves, more direct payments are unnecessary.
Many states, including Florida, have stopped providing additional federal unemployment benefits in an effort to push for people to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced that starting June 26 the state will no longer participate in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program. State and business officials have argued that, when added to state unemployment payments, the $300 a week in federal aid is keeping people from returning to jobs.
According to MoneyWise, the House and the Senate would have to approve a fourth round of direct payments before landing on Biden’s desk.
"We’ll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free," Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, referring to the cost of supplying more stimulus checks.
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