4 Reasons a Fourth Stimulus Check Probably Isn't Going to Happen

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on April 4, 2021

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A stressed young couple looking through their bills.

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A fourth stimulus payment probably isn't in the cards.

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As the IRS works to deposit the third stimulus check into Americans' bank accounts, some are calling for a fourth direct payment.

Unfortunately, if you're hoping for more financial help from Washington, D.C., to get you through these turbulent times, you're most likely going to end up disappointed. In fact, there are four big reasons why it's unlikely a fourth round of stimulus checks will end up being signed into law.

1. Vaccines are becoming more widely available

In a growing number of states, vaccines are now available to anyone who wants one. And more than 54 million Americans -- or around 16.4% of the U.S. population -- have been vaccinated already.

With more people protected against COVID-19, states are also lifting restrictions. So there's strong reason to believe that life will soon return to normal. All of this means there's a reduced need to provide more stimulus money, as there'd be little reason for additional COVID relief once the threat of the pandemic wanes.

2. There's a lack of bipartisan support

The first two stimulus checks were passed with bipartisan support, with both Republicans and Democrats signing on. Support from both sides of the aisle obviously makes it much easier for legislation to pass Congress.

The third check, however, passed with only votes from Democrats.

Republicans were largely opposed to more federal spending on coronavirus relief so soon after a December bill offered aid. Opposition would almost assuredly be even stronger for a fourth bill after the recent legislation -- the American Rescue Plan Act -- provided $1.9 trillion in relief.

3. There are limited chances to use reconciliation

Democrats have control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. However, they have only 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president, who can cast a tie-breaking vote.

A procedural rule called the filibuster allows senators to object and hold up legislation that cannot get 60 votes. That means unified Republican opposition can prevent most bills from passing.

Democrats were able to provide a third stimulus check via the American Rescue Plan Act because they passed the bill through a process called reconciliation. This procedural maneuver attaches legislation to budget bills that can't be filibustered, so only 51 votes are required for passage.

Reconciliation isn't always an option though. In fact, it can only be used twice this year, which means that Democrats probably won't have the opportunity to move another stimulus plan through this method.

4. The government has moved on to other priorities

President Joe Biden is no longer pushing for more coronavirus stimulus relief. Instead, he has moved on to an infrastructure package. The plan, which has been broken into two parts, is expected to cost around $4 trillion total. It will include not just an investment in rebuilding roads and bridges but also many green energy incentives.

With a shift in focus to infrastructure, there are few powerful voices pushing for a fourth stimulus check. Some progressives are urging the president to include another stimulus payment in the infrastructure bill. But that would serve only to push the cost even higher -- and there are already concerns about how to pay for all this spending.

All of this means that a fourth stimulus check is almost assuredly an impossibility. For those struggling and wondering what to do if you can't afford your bills, there are still options. For more resources to assist you, check out our guide on where to find help during the coronavirus pandemic.

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