With all the money floating around due to the government’s efforts to speed up the economy, should Americans expect another stimulus payment? According to CNET, the answer depends on how Congress defines a stimulus check.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans received two checks last year ($2,000 and $600), and another one earlier this year ($1,400). All in all, Americans got $4,000 in relief money from the federal government.
Now, the Biden White House is already looking at a sequel to the spending. Last week, the President unveiled the Build Back Better plan. That proposal aims to invest in the nation’s energy grid, transportation, broadband, and water systems.
Despite the urging of progressive lawmakers, the plan will not include any individual stimulus checks.
Progressives Want Another Stimulus Payment
Biden’s American Rescue Plan signed last March is the administration’s first spending package in 2021, with $1,400 checks, $300 in weekly unemployment benefits, and an expanded child tax credit. While this third check certainly will help boost spending, economists see the spending effect as uneven.
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They see some cities, which won’t benefit from the spending, to feel the economic hurt for decades. The American Rescue Plan doesn’t authorize just one direct payment. It contains three checks designed to help struggling individuals and families.
It’s possible a future bill could extend or introduce more money through direct checks that go to specific groups of recipients, including parents who earn below a certain income or people out of work.
Even as the latest batch of $1,400 checks head out the US Treasury and into Americans, some people are now looking at additional direct payments. In early March, 10 progressive senators asked President Joe Biden to include recurring stimulus payments (PDF) in the next spending bill.
The group, which includes Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Bernie Sanders (VT), said the last round of checks isn’t enough. “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.
This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” they wrote the president. Later in the month, another group of 21 Democrats made a similar request to Biden.
New Stimulus Payment Can Take Different Forms
The American Rescue Plan took the form of three checks as direct payment for Americans. These are the stimulus checks of $1,400, unemployment benefits, and the child tax credits. Now, Democrats are looking to insert more ways to provide more stimulus payments. However, in some cases, they won’t take the form of direct checks. In addition, lawmakers may choose to insert more direct payments impending bills in Congress, including Biden’s infrastructure plan.
The first one is by approving recurring payments. Democrats can insert a provision in Biden’s infrastructure program to allocate a budget for more payments similar to the American Rescue Plan. The next alternative is by passing the minimum wage hike.
From a federal average of $7.25, Democrats proposed a hike to $15/hour payment. Expectedly, the provision died on the Senate floor. This early, Progressives vowed to give it a shot again. “If any senator believes this is the last time they will cast a vote on whether or not to give a raise to 32 million Americans, they are sorely mistaken,” Sanders tweeted on March 5.
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A February report from the Brookings Institute models how a $15 minimum wage could help make 37% of US households financially self-sufficient.
Other Ways Democrats Want More Stimulus
Per White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, said that Biden wants to make the child tax credit permanent. Part of the Democrats’ proposal includes inserting a provision expanding the child tax credit in the infrastructure bill.
It includes Biden’s wish of making periodic payments to lower-income and middle-income families with children, but only through the end of 2021. Surprisingly, at least one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney (UT), expressed his support in making the child credits permanent.
Finally, the 10 Democratic senators also proposed renewing federal unemployment payments beyond September this year.
Watch the Max Maer video reporting that 21 Progressive Senators are demanding monthly stimulus checks:
Do you agree that Americans need another stimulus payment? Whether direct or as benefits such as minimum wage increase or tax credits, should Congress give more to Americans?
Let us know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.