Stimulus checks should continue until COVID-19 is history, senators tell Biden

Some Senate Democrats urge President Joe Biden to review national approach to distribution stimulus paymentsthe direct financial assistance deployed by Congress to help millions of Americans affected by the economic collapse that followed the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of providing discrete series of stimulus checks that are negotiated each time and arrive months apart, the federal government should provide recurring checks to help families get by until COVID-19[feminine] is over, the 10 lawmakers said in a letter published on Tuesday.

Request comes as Senate takes up Biden’s proposal $1.9 trillion relief package this week, which would include a third round of stimulus checks that would direct $1,400 to millions of eligible Americans. Congress handed out checks for $1,200 under the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act a year ago and sent an additional $600 payment in December as part of a bill broader stimulus. The senators did not specify the amount they are requesting for monthly direct aid.

The idea of ​​issuing recurring stimulus payments as a way to speed economic recovery has been championed by progressives and some Democrats. In January, more than 50 members of the Chamber urged the Biden administration to support a proposal for monthly payments of $2,000 until the end of the pandemic.

Proponents of the idea point out that financial hardship remains widespread in the United States nearly a year after COVID-19 effectively shut down the economy. Despite the ongoing recovery, a third of adults are struggling to pay their billswhile employers reduced by approximately 10 million jobs of their payroll during the crisis, according to a analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Decades of research on stimulus checks support the argument that much of this money is being spent, helping to stimulate the economy, and sources like the census show there is a huge need” additional financing despite the choppy recovery, said Claudia Sahm, economist. who worked at the Federal Reserve and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Third round of pandemic relief could provide $1,400 checks to millions of Americans


She added: “The reason we’re not in the world of 1933, when things were really bad, is because the Feds and the Federal Reserve stepped in – but we’re not out of it yet. affair.”

The senators who signed the letter, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon, say aid such as improved unemployment benefits have not reached all families affected by the economic crisis. .

Millions of people “are not eligible for unemployment insurance after having their hours reduced, moving to lower-paying jobs or temporarily leaving the workforce to care for family members during the pandemic. “, they wrote in the letter. “Direct payments are crucial to support struggling families who are not reached by unemployment insurance.”

Denial of $1,400?

Still, such arguments are unlikely to gain traction among congressional Republicans and even some moderate Democrats given that many have already voiced their opposition to the $1,400 checks that are part of Mr. Biden’s U.S. bailout. . Some lawmakers have also called for the third round of stimulus checks to be distributed to fewer households with a focus on low-income Americans.

Under the US bailout, a person’s income is the main determinant of whether they will receive a check, as well as the amount of the payment – similar to the previous two rounds of stimulus checks.

Singles could receive up to $1,400 each, while married couples filing jointly could receive $2,800. Only people earning up to $75,000 would receive the full payments, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000. For incomes above these thresholds, payment amounts would decrease, and disappear altogether for singles earning more than $100,000 and married couples with a combined income above $200,000.

Some lawmakers have cited research that shows high-income families are recovering well from the economic impact of the pandemic, as justification for lowering those income thresholds. Given this debate, many lawmakers are unlikely to support recurring stimulus payments.

Should fewer Americans get a stimulus check?


Even so, some elements of the US bailout could provide a similar form of continued relief to some households. First, it would direct an additional $400 a week to unemployed Americans, up from $300 previously, which would help the unemployed and their families but not help those struggling with reduced hours or other losses. of income.

The bill would also expand the Child Tax Credit and transform it from an annual break claimed on tax returns – and which typically appears in people’s annual repayments – to a monthly payment. Under the plan, the tax credit would increase from $2,000 to $3,600 for children up to age 6 and $3,000 for children up to age 17. The IRS would pay the tax credit in monthly installments. This means that a family with two children under the age of 6 could receive monthly checks of $600 from the IRS, for example.

In making their case, the senators noted that the $1,400 probably wouldn’t be enough to tide many families over for very long.

“Families shouldn’t have to worry about whether they will have enough money to pay for essentials in the coming months as the country continues to battle a global pandemic,” they wrote. “Nearly six in 10 people say the $1,400 payments that will be included in the bailout will last them less than three months.”

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