CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Does the American Families Plan include new stimulus checks?

The latest instalment of the Build Back Better Plan will extend the direct payments in the Child Tax Credit but there's no fourth stimulus check yet.

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Does the American Families Plan include new stimulus checks?
MELINA MARA-POOL VIA CNP/ZUMA PRESS/CONTACTO PHOTO EUROPA PRESS

On Wednesday President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress, an occasion traditionally used to outline the priorities of an incoming administration. As has been the case for much of the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency he focused on bold spending proposals with an agenda to fundamentally change American society.

The key announcement from the evening’s speech was a first real look at the American Families Plan, the spending package that Biden hopes will provide a much-needed support network for working families. The $1.8 trillion package is the third part of Biden’s three-pronged Build Back Better plan, but there was one notable omission: stimulus checks.

No fourth stimulus check despite calls from the Senate

During the course of the speech to Congress, the President made repeated references to stimulus checks. He was eager to draw attention to the $1,400 stimulus checks that were agreed in the American Rescue Plan and recounted their success.

"We've already sent more than 160 million checks out the door. It's making a difference,” he said. You all know it when you go home. For many people, it's making all the difference in the world."

The day of the speech saw an increase of around 250% for Google searches including the phrase "Biden fourth stimulus check". However Biden did not announce another round of direct payments in his address, despite growing calls from within his own Party to provide more assistance.

In March a group of 21 Senate Democrats signed a letter calling on Biden to consider including recurring stimulus check payments in the next stage of his Build Back Better plan. They wrote: “We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan.”

Continued direct payments in the form of an extended Child Tax Credit

While the fourth stimulus check does not look like materialising anytime soon, the monthly direct payments from the Child Tax Credit will be available for longer than initially planned after Biden announced a notable extension. The 12-month programme will be extended to five years, meaning that recipients will be getting the money through 2025.

The new system, which is still yet to be introduced, will provide a monthly payment worth up to $300 for children under six and $250 for those aged between six and 17. The programme marks a distinct change from the previous system which offered just a single tax credit worth up to $2,000 which could be claimed at the end of each tax year.