Despite growing support for another round of stimulus checks, the White House and Congress have yet to show any commitment to it. All hope, however, is still not lost. A fourth or even fifth coronavirus stimulus check is still possible, and there are three main reasons for that.
Coronavirus stimulus checks are still possible?
The first reason is the growing support for another coronavirus stimulus check among Democrats. There are reports that at least 80 Democrats in Congress support sending more stimulus checks. More importantly, this number includes 21 Senate Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris, who as a senator sponsored a bill to provide recurring payments.
Also, seven members of the influential House Ways and Means Committee have recently come up in support of another stimulus check. These members, in a letter, urged President Biden to approve more direct payments.
With rising support, it is possible that Biden approves another stimulus payment and makes it a part of his upcoming infrastructure legislation. Also, if all Democrats were to support another stimulus check, it would become relatively easy to approve another round of stimulus checks.
They can use the process called reconciliation in the Senate, to pass the legislation without any support from Republicans. Democrats used the same process to get approval for the American Rescue Plan Act.
Another reason why more stimulus checks are possible is that the general public also wants it. Like Democrats, support for more stimulus checks is also growing among the public. A change.org petition calling on Congress to provide monthly recurring checks until the pandemic ends, has already gotten more than 2.2 million signatures.
This petition asks 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.”
Uncertainty also supports more stimulus payments
Apart from the above two reasons, there is one more very important reason why stimulus checks are possible, and it is the coronavirus itself. Even though we now have vaccines for COVID-19, it is a fact that scientists still don’t know everything about it.
New variants of the virus continue to evolve quickly. The vaccines so far have proven to be effective against all the variants, but there is always the uncertainty of whether any new variant could be vaccine resistant. Also, though the number of Americans getting vaccinated is growing, the country is still far from herd immunity.
Thus, if the pandemic again gains strength, it could quickly derail the economic progress made over the past year. In such a scenario, resorting to another stimulus check would be the only way to boost the demand and economy.
We all hope that such a situation never arises, but it is always better to be prepared. So, if Congress approves recurring stimulus checks, people will feel protected by being taken care of in a time of need.
Stimulus Checks Substantially Reduced Hardship, Study Shows
“It bridged a gap,” Ms. Ray said, while she waited for slower forms of assistance, like rental aid.
Then she got cancer. To confirm the diagnosis and guide her treatment, she had to contribute $600 to the cost of a CT scan, which she did with the help of a payment in April totaling $2,800.
In addition to providing for the test, Ms. Ray said, the checks brought hope. “I really got down and depressed,” she said. “Part of the benefit of the stimulus to me was God saying, ‘I got you.’ Spiritual and emotional reassurance. It took a lot of stress off me.”
Scott Winship, who studies poverty at the American Enterprise Institute, questioned the reliability of the census data used in the University of Michigan study, noting that fewer than one in 10 of the households the government contacts answer the biweekly surveys.
He also argued that hardship would have fallen anyway, since the last round of stimulus checks coincided with tax season, which sends large sums to low-wage workers through tax credits. Between the earned-income tax credit and the child tax credit, a single parent with two children can receive up to nearly $8,500 a year.
Researchers at Columbia University estimate that poverty fell sharply in March, but Zachary Parolin, a member of the Columbia team, said that about half the decline would have occurred without the pandemic relief, primarily because of the tax credits.
Noting that the stimulus checks allocated as much to households with incomes above $100,000 as they did to those below $30,000, Mr. Winship called them inefficient and a poor model for future policy. “It’s not sustainable to just give people enough cash to eliminate poverty,” he said. “And in the long run it can have negative consequences by reducing the incentives to work and marry.”
Analysts have long debated the merits of cash versus targeted assistance like food stamps or housing subsidies. Cash is easy to send and flexible to use. But targeted benefits offer more assurance that the aid is used as intended, and they attract political support from related businesses like grocers and landlords.