CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: when can be the new payment according to the experts?

Democratic lawmakers continue to call for President Biden to include more stimulus checks in the American Families Plan, so when could they come?

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Fourth stimulus check: when can be the new payment according to the experts?
LEAH MILLIS REUTERS

The IRS has sent out the majority of $1,400 stimulus checks in the third round of Economic Impact Payments that were included in the American Rescue Plan. The remaining checks and “plus-up” payments will continue to go out as the tax agency processes 2020 tax returns. Yet there is a push for further direct payments to Americans while the pandemic lasts.

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee have sent the White House a letter urging the White House to include recurring stimulus payments in the American Families Plan according to reporting in Newsweek, the third such letter from Congress this year. This follows a meeting last week between White House Staff and the Economic Security Project about creating “automatic stabilizers” that would see direct payments automatically sent out when certain economic measures are triggered.

When could a fourth stimulus check be approved?

President Biden has presented the next two phases of his Build Back Better plan which would see an additional $4 trillion in spending on infrastructure and American families. Both pieces of legislation are expected to encounter headwinds from Republicans because of the sheer size of the plans.

The White House has been meeting with bipartisan groups of lawmakers to hammer out details of what he wants to see included in the American Jobs Plan, President Biden’s infrastructure bill. So far, the counteroffers from GOP lawmakers have been much smaller than what the Biden administration is calling for but Republicans are upping the amount that they could envision spending.

However, GOP lawmakers want the legislation to focus on traditional infrastructure, negating any likelihood that a stimulus check or other form of direct payment could get into the bill if the White House wants Republicans to support a final legislative proposal. “This has got to be the meat and potatoes of infrastructure: roads, bridges, and ports, and that’s what we’re trying to push,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Monday.

Lawmakers push for direct payments as part of American Families Plan

The focus for more social spending seems to be focused on the American Families Plan, the White House’s proposal for investing in the American family. President Biden unveiled his $1.8 trillion investment in education, child care and paid family leave in April. It isn’t clear when Congress would take up the proposal as lawmakers are working through the details of the infrastructure bill. This proposal would encounter even stronger opposition from GOP lawmakers with the increased taxes on the wealthy that are included and the larger role the state would take in everyday life.

Democrats would most likely seek to pass the bill before the end of the year to include expanded tax provisions from the American Rescue Plan that only apply to the 2021 fiscal year. In order to get the bill through the evenly split Senate would require support from at least 10 Republicans unless Democrats use budget reconciliation as they did with the American Rescue Plan. The parliamentary process allowed Democrats to pass the legislation without the threat of the filibuster using a simple majority vote.

However, centrist Democrats, in particular Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have expressed reluctance to use that process and want the legislation to be bipartisan. Furthermore, using reconciliation would limit what could go into the bill as with the $15 per hour minimum wage hike that was removed from the American Rescue Plan after the Senate parliamentarian judged that it didn’t meet the requirements to be included.

A lot will depend on how the economy recovers into the summer and fall and whether there will be the impetus for additional stimulus checks. Currently there is more focus on continuing the enhanced Child Tax Credit for 2021 that will begin sending households with children monthly direct payments starting in July. President Biden has proposed extending the expansion until 2025, while the congressional Democrats want to make it permanent.

As for a fourth stimulus check Yeva Nersisyan, Associate Professor of Economics at Franklin & Marshall College told CBS “let’s see if people still need more assistance. Let’s see how the economy’s doing as things keep opening up and the vaccination rates go up and things go back to some sense of normal. And let’s see where the unemployment numbers are. Are people still running behind on their rents and mortgages and so on? And based on that, let’s decide whether we need to inject more spending into the economy. I would say wait and see right now.”