Congress Debates a 4th Stimulus Check

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President Joe Biden and Congress are currently working on finalizing two stimulus bills. It’s unclear whether one of them is the fourth stimulus check for 2021. Although the IRS is still delivering the leftover third stimulus checks, some lawmakers have asked that a fourth stimulus check be approved. If approved, the money may come either as a one-time payment or a recurring one. President Biden has not committed to sending a fourth stimulus check yet. 

In March 2021, the Biden administration approved its first stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, which included check payments amounting to $1,400, additional weekly unemployment benefits of $300, and an expanded child tax credit until 2022. The White House also proposed two more stimulus bills for 2021—the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. Neither of these proposals includes a stimulus check at this stage. However, Democratic members of the House and Senate have urged the Biden administration to send a fourth stimulus check.

In late March, a group of ten progressive lawmakers, including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments in the next stimulus package. In their statement, the lawmakers said, “We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan.” A few weeks later, a group of 21 Democrats requested Biden to take a similar decision.

On May 17, several members of the House Ways and Means Committee made a pitch for additional stimulus money. In their letter, the members highlighted increased poverty and spiraling debt among Americans, noting that most people spent relief stimulus money on monthly expenses/essentials like food, rent, utilities, and mortgage payments. A future bill could increase the amount sent as direct payments to specific groups of recipients.

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