by Angelica Leicht | May 3, 2021
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Holding out hope for a fourth stimulus check? Millions of people want Congress to issue $2,000 recurring checks instead.
Over the last month and a half, the IRS has made impressive headway with issuing the third round of stimulus checks to qualifying Americans. The federal agency initially started mailing out and depositing $1,400 checks into bank accounts on March 12, shortly after President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan was signed into law. As of the last week of April, the IRS had disbursed approximately 163 million stimulus payments worth a total of about $384 billion.
The money from the past three stimulus bills has been a necessary lifeline for those struggling financially due to the fallout from the pandemic. But, with millions of Americans still facing hardships due to the pandemic, some lawmakers have called on President Biden and Congress in recent months to take steps to ensure that people can make ends meet.
And lawmakers aren't the only ones voicing their concern. Millions of Americans are now calling for Congress to issue recurring checks to help those who were laid-off, furloughed, or had their hours reduced due to the pandemic. Here's what these Americans are proposing lawmakers in Congress should do -- and why.
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As of May 2, 2021, millions of people have signed a petition on Change.org that is calling for monthly stimulus checks to be issued to all Americans.
The petition, which was started by Denver, CO–based restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, is asking for Congress to issue monthly $2,000 payments for each adult and $1,000 payments for each child in America. According to the petition, these checks should continue throughout the pandemic.
The petition first appeared on Change.org last year, and states that the goal of these recurring checks is to supply Americans with monthly support until they can get back on their feet and save communities from financial ruin. The recurring checks would replace lost incomes and make life easier for those who are struggling to pay rent, put food on the table, and find money in their budgets for other essential bills.
The petition notes that while there have been three stimulus checks issued over the past year, they were not sufficient.
The first two stimulus checks -- worth a maximum of $1,200 and $600 per qualifying adult, respectively -- were issued by the Trump administration. About nine months passed between the first and second rounds of checks.
The third stimulus check was issued by the Biden administration and gave qualifying Americans a maximum of $1,400 per eligible adult or dependent in their households. These checks are still being issued in the form of "plus-up" payments and paper checks to those who qualify.
In total, the three stimulus checks amount to a maximum of $3,200 in stimulus money per qualifying adult. And, that $3,200 isn't enough, according to the petition. Without more help from recurring payments, far too many people are at risk of facing financial ruin.
"Another single check won’t solve our problems -- people are just too far behind. Like we’ve been saying from the beginning of this pandemic, people need to know when the next check is coming. And the best thing our government can do right now is send emergency money to the people on a monthly basis," the petition states.
The petition exploded in popularity in recent weeks and has gained enough support to land it in the top 10 Change.org petitions for 2020. It currently has about 2 million signatures, with a goal of getting 3 million signatures in total.
This petition isn't the only push for recurring checks that has occured. Dozens of Democratic lawmakers have also called for President Biden to issue recurring checks to Americans until the pandemic is under control.
The push for recurring checks by lawmakers first gained steam in early 2021, when Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, along with 52 other House Democrats, asked the president to include recurring checks in his next stimulus bill.
The effort gained more momentum in late March, when another 21 Democratic lawmakers -- including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders -- joined the effort and signed a letter asking Biden to include recurring checks in his next stimulus bill.
The letter called for 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."
As with the petition, the idea behind these recurring payments is to help Americans cover their bills and other expenses as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the idea of issuing recurring checks has some lawmaker support -- and plenty of citizen support -- whether or not these payments will actually happen remains to be seen. The reality is that there would be significant hurdles for any bill that included recurring checks. Such an idea would need significant bipartisan support -- which isn't likely to happen, considering that bipartisan support was already hard to garner with the third stimulus bill.
It also seems highly unlikely that recurring checks would gain much momentum with President Biden. Last week, the president spoke before the House and Senate to outline his agenda -- but made no mention of a fourth stimulus check during his speech.
He did, however, propose new legislation via the American Families Plan, which would help Americans in a number of other ways, including reduced childcare and healthcare costs, subsidized college tuition costs, paid sick leave and family leave, expanded food benefits, and other money-saving measures.
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