Stimulus Check Update: Petition for Fourth Stimulus Check Now Tops 3 Million Signatures

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  • A Denver, Colorado restaurant owner started a petition requesting ongoing stimulus payments.
  • More than 3 million Americans have signed the petition.
  • Despite this, lawmakers probably won't authorize another stimulus check.

Will lawmakers listen to the millions of Americans calling for another stimulus payment?

Lawmakers reacted quickly when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. During the Trump administration, two stimulus checks were authorized on a bipartisan basis. The Biden administration subsequently provided a third check in March of 2021, which deposited $1,400 per eligible adult and dependent into the bank accounts of qualifying Americans.

Many Americans, however, feel that more help is necessary. The strong demand for a fourth stimulus check is clearly demonstrated by a petition which has now reached more than 3 million signatures.

Millions of Americans call for fourth stimulus check

The petition was started by Stephanie, a Denver Colorado restaurant owner who wrote, "I'm calling on Congress to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis."

Although the petition has been posted for well over a year, people across the United States have continued to add their signatures to it. In fact, as of Jan. 17, 2022, a total of 3,017,183 people had put their names on it. This includes people from every state in the country.

A recent update to the petition explained some of the reasons why it continues to receive so much support. The update reads, "Our country is still deeply struggling. The recovery hasn't reached many Americans -- the true unemployment rate for low-wage workers is estimated at over 20% and many people face large debts from last year for things like utilities, rent and childcare. These are all reasons that checks need to be targeted to people who are still struggling and that Congress needs to learn from this past year."

Will lawmakers heed the call?

With so many signatures, the petition requesting a fourth stimulus check is one of the most popular on the platform. It's not only unusual for a petition to receive so many signatures, but it's also uncommon for one to get sustained attention for so long. Yet, Americans across the country continue to sign it in an attempt to make their voices heard.

Despite the clear fact that demand for another payment is very high, lawmakers are unlikely to move forward with a fourth check, much less with ongoing monthly payments as requested.

In fact, it has proved impossible in recent months for Congress to reach consensus on extending another form of stimulus relief, the expanded Child Tax Credit. This credit provided parents with monthly payments of $250 or $300 per month per child from July to December of 2021, but it has since been allowed to expire.

The fact is, the most recent stimulus bill signed into law in March of 2021 received support only from Democrats. And any additional relief would likely also need to be passed on a partisan basis with unanimous support from every Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

See, Republicans would likely filibuster any bill to provide a fourth check or to authorize ongoing payments as the petition requests. A filibuster would halt the progress of the legislation unless Democrats could muster 60 votes to advance it.

Democrats could bypass the filibuster through a legislative process called reconciliation, which allows bills to pass with just 51 votes. But they have just 50 senators who caucus with Democrats -- and the vice president available to break ties in the 50-50 senate. More moderate Democratic senators who have blocked legislation expanding the Child Tax Credit would be unlikely to advance a bill offering a fourth check or ongoing payments.

This means the millions of Americans calling for more stimulus relief are most likely out of luck and will find that they do not get this type of help from Congress in 2022.

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