Stimulus Check Update: Do You Have Questions About a Possible Fourth Stimulus Check? We've Got Answers
Wondering what all the buzz over a possible fourth stimulus payment is about? We've got the answers to your questions.
Millions of Americans have received their third stimulus payments over the last few weeks. Shortly after President Joe Biden signed the latest stimulus bill into law, the IRS began mailing out this round of $1,400 stimulus checks and depositing payments into qualifying recipients' bank accounts. While not everyone who qualifies has received their payment yet, the federal agency has still made impressive headway on the distribution of these funds.
As of the end of March, about 130 million Americans had received, or were in line to receive, their direct stimulus payments. The process of distributing the third round of stimulus payments has been much quicker than it was with the last two stimulus payments. There have been delays for a number of groups, however, including those who receive Social Security payments or other benefits. These types of delays can cause major issues for those who have suffered economic hardship from the pandemic -- and make it a lot tougher to pay monthly bills and other essentials.
But while millions are still waiting on their third stimulus payments to arrive, some lawmakers have been pushing for a fourth round of stimulus checks. If you're wondering what a fourth stimulus payment would look like for you, or how much those checks could be, we've got answers to your questions below.
Who is pushing for the fourth possible stimulus payment?
Right now, the push for a fourth stimulus check is being led primarily by Democratic representatives, though that could change in time.
The talks over the fourth check started in late March, when Elizabeth Warren, Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders, and a group of about 60 Democratic U.S. representatives and senators signed a letter asking the president to issue recurring checks to Americans throughout the pandemic.
"It was very encouraging to see the inclusion of direct cash assistance in your current economic rescue plan. However it is clear that during this unprecedented time in our nation's history that we must take additional unprecedented action," the lawmakers stated in their letter.
The letter urged Democratic leaders to continue sending stimulus checks to Americans in need until the economy recovers.
The letter also urges Biden to issue an automatic extension of unemployment insurance benefits in order to help fill in the gaps caused by income losses due to millions of people losing jobs during the pandemic.
How much would a fourth stimulus check be for?
As of right now, there is no proposed fourth check -- not in any formal legislation, anyway. So, the answer to this question of the amount of a fourth stimulus check is nothing, though that could change at some point.
That said, the idea is for Biden to include a fourth check in the American Jobs Plan, also known as the Build Back Better plan, an infrastructure plan that will help stimulate the economy and help the nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike the prior three stimulus payments, though, this proposed stimulus check would be ongoing, meaning it would be a temporary but longer-term fix for houses in need of a financial boost.
The early draft of the plan mainly earmarks money for different projects, including upgraded ports, rebuilt bridges, and creating jobs and raising wages, among other things. This type of funding would be distributed for projects across the nation to fix crumbling infrastructure and benefit communities by creating work and other opportunities.
The bill is going to cost about $3 trillion, and if signed into law, the money for this bill would come from tax hikes primarily aimed at high-income investors and certain lower-taxed businesses. The plan is also expected to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and make other changes to the tax rates that wealthy Americans pay.
Will a fourth stimulus be added to the Build Back Better plan?
Because this is an early draft of the bill, there is still plenty of time to revise it and include a fourth stimulus payment. But will that happen?
While there are certainly people who could benefit from another financial boost, it's not likely that the fourth stimulus check will gain much traction. Right now, the idea is backed almost entirely by Democratic lawmakers, and it would likely be a steep uphill battle to get more lawmakers on board with the idea of ongoing checks.
Many Republican lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have already been vocal about a lack of GOP support for a tax increase to pay for the infrastructure plan. Some Democratic lawmakers have also been vocal about their lack of support for raising taxes to support plans like these.
Furthermore, the last stimulus bill -- which included money earmarked for the $1,400 stimulus checks that are still being issued by the IRS -- faced significant hurdles. It only passed because of a process called "reconciliation," which allowed it to become law without any Republican support.
In other words, if we're judging by the lack of Republican support for the last stimulus bill, Biden's Build Back Better bill is going to have a tough time making it through the proper channels to become law -- and adding another stimulus check to it would make it significantly harder to pass.
Who could receive the proposed fourth stimulus?
If a fourth stimulus check were to be added to the Build Back Better bill, the Democratic lawmakers pushing for it are asking the president to send "equal payments to adults and dependents, prioritize those who need it most and will spend it quickest, and include older dependents such as disabled and elderly dependents and those over the age of 16 still claimed as dependents."
Is a fourth stimulus check likely to happen?
In realty, probably not. The economy is showing signs of recovery from the pandemic thanks to mass vaccinations and reopenings occurring across the nation.
And, with the significant hurdles that a fourth stimulus bill would need to clear in order to gain traction, it's not likely that an ongoing fourth stimulus check is likely to be added to further complicate the issues at hand.
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