The fourth stimulus check continues to be in the news even as the IRS sends out more stimulus checks every week. But many Democratic lawmakers contend that this amount will not be sufficient as Americans continue to suffer from the after-effects of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The lawmakers have petitioned for a 4th stimulus check to be included in any plans. But there are also dissenting voices against any more direct stimulus.
With 165 million payments going out to families and individuals, we are into the third month of payments. With the child tax rebate payments set to start in July, many families with children stand to gain $3,600 max per child, part of it through recurring payments, the rest against the 2021 tax season.
Has The Fourth Stimulus Check Run Aground?
The debate has not made much headway with the President staying non-committal. But more influential Democrats had joined in the chorus for including direct stimulus check in any future development plans. The American economy continues its slow recovery post the pandemic, and many people continue to suffer from its aftereffects on the economy. The search for a fourth check continues to dominate search engines including Google. The watchwords are direct and immediate. The lawmakers have been joined by more than 2.2 million petitioners on the online platform change.org.
The supporters of more direct stimulus checks have argued that the economic turnaround will take another year to take effect. And Americans have already used up their stimulus payments and face imminent starvation if they do not receive immediate support from the administration.
The Support So Far This Year
The first of President Biden’s three-pronged plans to save the American people was the American Rescue Plan approved in March, 2021. It included a direct stimulus check of up to $1,400 to families and individuals, based on their Adjusted Gross Income.
The $300 unemployment benefits have been expanded till September 6, 2021. This as well as pandemic support to freelancers and gig workers, and other self-employed workers will not be extended beyond that date. And around 2 dozen states have opted out of the extended benefits. Millions of Americans stare at the prospect of losing their support right from June.
Third support is in the form of the Child Tax Rebate that will give up to $3,600 per child to families. 50% of the payment will be through six-monthly checks starting July 15, 2021. The rest 50% will be a tax refund against the 2021 tax returns to be filed in 2022.
A Fourth Stimulus investment In A New Form
The second part of President Biden’s plan for 2021 is the American Jobs Plan. It has huge plans to envisage and build up a new economy. It is a $2 trillion plan to renovate the total American infrastructure. It calls for investment in the nation not seen since the building of the interstate highways and the outlay that won America the space race.
The investment will extensively cover our roads, bridges, and water systems. Low-cost housing, the internet, and the electric grid are up for a complete overhaul.
Investments are also planned to shore up the caregiving infrastructure, research and development, and training.
But Democratic lawmakers including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were joined by 8 more progressive lawmakers, who have petitioned President Biden to add a direct stimulus payment to his infrastructure plans.
They have urged him to also extend the unemployment insurance in any long-term monetary plans. 21 more lawmakers have joined the group.
A significant move came as members from the House Ways and Means Committee have noted that the stimulus checks have been spent mostly on essentials like food, rent, mortgage payments, and utilities.
Other Ways Americans Can Get Stimulus Checks
The American Families Plan could include direct stimulus payments to selected individuals and groups, mostly based on economic needs. The third of President Biden’s strategy for economic stimulus, is an investment in America’s kids, families, and economic prospects.
Even as the American economy begins to rehire, many citizens continue to remain out of work. Getting back to the pre-pandemic days will never be enough. The President’s plans for the new economy envisages that no one should be left behind.
The plans are for at least four years of free education. The plan is for investments right from childhood to post-secondary education that will transform a child’s skills.
Direct support to families will ensure that families spend no more than 7% of their income on child care.
Tax cuts will benefit low and middle-income families. Proposals to cut health insurance costs are also on the anvil.
One of the most contentious issues is educational costs. A multi-pronged approach has been planned to benefit both students and teachers. This includes increasing the Pell Grant Award, increase in college retention and completion expenses.
Expansion Of Existing Stimulus Support
The President has in a speech before Congress has urged both Houses to stretch the expanded child support in the form of the Child Tax Credit to 2025. Some Democrats including Senator Mitt Romney have also pitched for permanent child support. It can lift millions out of poverty.
A hike in the minimum wages has long kept waiting for long. A minimum wage of $15 per hour has been proposed by the President. Studies by the Brookings Institute have shown how the increase to $15 from the $7.25 at present could turn 37% of American households self-reliant.
The third proposal is to extend the federal unemployment support beyond September 6, 2021, as passed in the American Rescue Plan.