CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Will there be a fourth stimulus check after the third one?

With the budget resolution now passed in the House and the Senate, a third stimulus check is edging closer. What’s the outlook for a fourth?

Will there be a fourth stimulus check after the first one?
POOL Europa Press

The Senate and the House have now both voted in favour of a budget resolution, which will allow the Democrats to use reconciliation to pass Biden's covid-19 relief bill without bipartisan support.

On early Friday morning the Senate passed a budget resolution which paves the way for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package to be passed. The 51-50 vote in the Senate required the tie-breaking intervention of Vice President Kamala Harris as both caucuses voted along party lines. 

Later the same day, the House of Representatives also passed the motion, paving the way to pass the American Rescue Plan. The vote was 219-209 along mostly partly lines to approve the resolution as amended by the Senate. Jared Golden was the only Democrat to vote against the measure. House Democratic leaders have said the chamber should be ready to pass relief legislation by the end of the month, if not sooner.

Although this does not mean Biden’s covid-19 relief bill has now passed, it allows the Democrats to go ahead with the reconciliation process which will allow them the pass the package in the future without bipartisan support.

The plan calls for extending $400 weekly unemployment benefits through September and increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Also included are expanded tax credits for children and money for reopening schools and more funds for state and local governments.

Fourth, fifth, sixth stimulus a possibility?

In recent weeks more than 50 progressive House Democrats urged President Biden to prioritise recurring stimulus checks instead of one-time payments in his coronavirus relief package. The American Rescue Plan that Biden presented before his inauguration called for an additional $1400 direct payment to Americans to top up the $600 Economic Impact Payments authorised in December.

In a letter to the Biden administration, Representatives including Ilhan Omar Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal and Rashida Tlaib called for sending recurring regular checks through the end of the covid-19 pandemic to help struggling Americans pay for basic necessities.

The letter first reported by Politico does not specify an amount for the proposed recurring direct payments. However several of the House progressives have pushed for monthly $2000 direct payments instead of the one-off $1400 payments called for in Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan. The proposal is overwhelmingly popular with the public across political beliefs with nearly two-thirds support.

Stimulus check and US politics: live news

You can get the latest information on the proposed third stimulus check with our dedicated live blog.