Biden Administration Seems Open to a Lockdown, Which Could Make a Fourth Stimulus Check Necessary

by Christy Bieber | Published on July 30, 2021

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A man putting on a medical mask with his coworkers talking at a table behind him.

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The Biden administration will listen to the CDC, which could mean lockdowns -- and potentially a fourth stimulus check.

In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed its guidance on wearing face masks. While the federal agency's previous recommendation was that vaccinated people did not need to wear masks indoors, their updated guidance advises indoor masking for people in high-transmission areas -- even if they are fully vaccinated.

The Biden White House has made clear that it is standing behind this guidance. And, in light of this turnaround, Fox News' White House Correspondent Peter Doocy wanted to know if further shutdowns could be on the table.

During a White House press briefing on Thursday, Doocy noted "President Biden once said we are not returning to lockdowns, shutdowns and school closures. But, he also once said we would not have to wear masks again once we are vaccinated." He went on to ask Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, "So if you're listening to the science -- if scientists come to you at some point down the line and say, 'It is our opinion that there should be shutdowns, and there should be school closures,' you would do that?"

The White House response made clear that lockdowns were definitely not off the table. "We listen to the CDC and the experts and their guidance," Jean-Pierre replied. "The CDC is a body that is very well-respected. And, again, we follow their guidance."

With growing concerns about the Delta variant and the White House indicating that it is willing to do what is necessary to take drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus, there's a stronger possibility of a fourth stimulus check than at any time in recent months.

More lockdowns would almost assuredly mean more stimulus checks

If widespread lockdowns once again become necessary due to the more transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, this would almost certainly necessitate the passage of another coronavirus relief bill providing a fourth stimulus payment.

Americans have already shown they're eager for a fourth check, with a petition asking for ongoing direct payments getting close to 3 million signatures. And demand for this financial aid has been mounting even as the economy has begun to open up and businesses have started hiring.

If positive economic trends reverse and more lockdowns occur, this would once again affect the ability of millions of Americans to earn a living or to pay for essential costs such as food and housing. With businesses shuttered, those who lose their jobs would likely not easily be able to find replacement work.

The initial lockdowns that occurred during the start of the pandemic in March of 2020 were the catalyst for the passage of the first stimulus check, which was signed into law by the Trump administration.

Congress acted swiftly at the time to get money into Americans' bank accounts because they realized how necessary the payments were due to the strict restrictions. The two subsequent stimulus checks that people received took longer to negotiate and become law because restrictions had already begun to ease up slightly by the time they were issued.

Of course, the Biden administration hasn't suggested that lockdowns will definitely be happening any time soon. But if the CDC believes that a shutdown is necessary to protect the public, the administration's apparent willingness to get on board shows that a similar lockdown to March of 2020 isn't off the table -- and a stimulus check would likely follow swiftly if this unpleasant reality occurs.

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