The U.S. government has been providing U.S. citizens with stimulus checks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to help them weather job losses and economic insecurity. So far, there have been three stimulus checks. Many Americans wonder if there will be a fourth stimulus check.
The first argument is that people are still weathering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They think that one-time payments could be a temporary source of help. The other argument is also valid. Since the economy has turned a corner and the unemployment rate and economic growth rate are improving, direct aid might not be the best bet.
Stimulus checks, explained
The first stimulus checks were distributed early in the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. The second stimulus package was passed in December 2020. The third stimulus aid package was signed off by President Joe Biden in March 2021. Most of the eligible adults have already received $3,200 so far:
- $1,200 under the CARES Act in March 2020
- $600 in a December relief measure
- $1,400 under the American Rescue Plan signed in March 2021
Hype about a fourth stimulus check
Many Americans argue that the unemployment rate is still high at 6.1 percent compared to the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent. According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of census survey data from early May, one in four Americans struggled to pay their household expenses in the previous week. As Americans still weather the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are demanding more assistance from the government. More than 2.3 million people have also signed a Change.org petition, which calls on lawmakers to pass legislation for recurring $2,000 monthly payments.
Will there be a fourth stimulus check?
Congress has been discussing the possibility of a fourth stimulus check for some time now. In a letter to President Biden on May 17, seven Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee urged him to continue direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While some people want conventional stimulus checks, others are calling for recurring $2,000 monthly checks. However, it still isn't clear if the Biden administration will include this type of payment in its plan of advancing the $2 trillion infrastructure plan and Biden’s “families plan.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The president is certainly open to a range of ideas.” However, according to a May 28 White House fact sheet on the budget for fiscal 2022, neither the American Families Plan nor the American Jobs Plan calls for another stimulus check at this stage.
Given the way the economy is currently shaping up with the unemployment situation improving significantly and the economy growing at a healthy clip, Congress might not agree to another stimulus check. The Biden administration is gearing up to pass the infrastructure spending package.
The fate of the fourth stimulus check is still up in the air. You can access additional payments through:
- Temporary expansion of the child tax credit: Under this plan, for six months, families will receive $250 for each child aged 6–17 and $300 for each child younger than 6 years old.
- Another rescue package released in March is aimed at homeowner assistance. This $10 billion fund has a minimum of $50 million appropriated for each state.
- Congress has also approved a total of $46.6 billion in emergency aid for tenants who can’t afford to pay rent.
Wall Street analysts’ take on a fourth stimulus check
According to Wall Street analysts, the fourth stimulus check might not be that likely. Raymond James analyst Ed Mills told CNBC that it's unlikely at this time since the Biden administration is focused on advancing its infrastructure plan.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is also hopeful about the recovery. He expects the economic boom to last through 2023. In his opinion, this diminishes the rationale for the government offering more direct aid.