CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: how much would it be according to current proposals?

Democratic lawmakers have urged the White House to include recurring stimulus checks in the American Jobs Plan, but that looks unlikely to happen.

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Fourth stimulus check: how much would it be according to current proposals?
SAUL LOEB AFP

President Job Biden unveiled his vision for the future with his $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment plan, the American Jobs Plan. The ambitious plan intends to aid the US economic recovery and improve US competitiveness in the global market, but Democratic lawmakers say to truly build back the US economy more direct stimulus payments are necessary.

The second part of President Biden’s Build Back Better program is more than just an infrastructure bill. The plan is spread out over 8 years and could create 18 million jobs. It also reverses some of the tax cuts put into place by former President Trump, raising corporate taxes to 28% from 21% and requires companies to pay higher rates on earnings from overseas in order to pay for the investment.

Democrats want Biden to include more stimulus checks

Lawmakers sent letters from both the House and Senate urging the White House to include recurring direct payments to struggling Americans for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic as part of the Build Back Better plan. 56 Democratic members of the House and 21 Senators have signed onto the respective letters according to Newsweek.

In the House the push is led by Representative Ilhan Omar, joined by 55 Democratic congressional peers. Although the letter didn't state an amount for the additional rounds of direct payments, fellow colleagues Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Rashida Tlaib, reintroduced legislation that would see a fourth stimulus payment of $2,000, followed by $1,000 monthly payments until the pandemic ends.

From the Upper House, the push is led by Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, along with other top Senate Democratic leaders. Neither did the letter from the Senate give an exact dollar amount for what the payments should be, other signatories like Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have called for $2,000 recurring payments in the past.

“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” read the letter from the senators. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

Why there most likely won’t be a fourth stimulus check

Although unemployment remains almost double the pre-pandemic level, the latest jobs report from the Department of Labor shows that 916,000 jobs were created in March. Growth was seen across a wide range of sectors including the hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry, reducing the pressure on reluctant lawmakers to inject more stimulus money into the economy. With the vaccination effort moving forward at a faster pace, businesses should be able to return to normal by summer it will be harder to sway lawmakers worried about the cost of even more direct aid in the form of stimulus checks to back them.

The focus now will be on more job creation through President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, the second in his three-part Build Back Better agenda. The White House is already receiving push back on the $2.25 trillion spending plan he wants Congress to have prepared by summer. Recurring stimulus checks until the end of the pandemic, let alone a fourth round of stimulus checks, would be a hard sell to Republican lawmakers who baulked at the size and distribution of the $1,400 stimulus checks in the last round.

A more likely scenario is a push to make the year-long expansion of the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit permanent. These measures are seen as effective tools for reducing poverty and Biden has already expressed a desire to make them permanent. Additionally, it has more support in the Senate with 41 senators calling on President Biden to make the tax provisions permanent to avoid “a significant spike in child poverty, after we have made historic strides to end it.”