FOURTH STIMULUS CHECK

Fourth stimulus check: Is another direct payment included in the new $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill?

New details have begun to emerge over the measures included in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. One item missing -- a new round of stimulus checks.

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Fourth stimulus check: Is another direct payment included in the new $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill?
SAMUEL CORUM AFP

Earlier this summer, Democrats led by Senate Budget Committee Chairmen Bernie Sanders revealed plans to pass a major reconciliation bill worth more than $3 trillion.

This news came after more moderate and centrist members of both parties opted to put together an infrastructure bill focused on traditional investments in roads, bridges, and other types of physical infrastructure. This group of Senators rejected President Biden's American Jobs Plan which also included measures to help workers and increase labor protections. This spring the Biden administration also unveiled the American Families Plan which included popular items like the extension of the Child Tax Credit's current structure through 2025 and the establishment of a paid family leave policy.

The reconciliation bill has gained momentum over the summer and includes many of the items from the President's plans that were left out of the bipartisan infrastructure package. One item that has not made the cut so far -- a fourth stimulus check.

Will a fourth stimulus check be included in the reconciliation package?

One measure notably absent from the reconciliation package is a fourth stimulus check. While Sanders and other lawmakers have not spoken directly about why money was not allocated for a direct payment, some evidence is buried in the proposal.

Some of the measures included in the reconciliation bill will send money directly to US households.

The package includes funding to make the changes to the Child Tax Credit permanent. The bill would also ensure families pay no more than seven percent of their income for childcare and establish a paid federal family leave program.

However, some economists worry that the ending of federal protections and programs like unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium combined with a new surge in covid cases could hinder the economic recovery.

More than nine million people filed for unemployment benefits the weeks before the programs were ended and Goldman Sachs estimates that this year more than 700,000 families could be evicted. 

Additionally, according to the Eviction Lab, an organization dedicated to tracking evictions in the US, more than half a million landlords have already filed eviction notices since March 2020. The states with the highest number of filings were:

  1. Indiana
  2. Missouri
  3. New Mexico
  4. Delaware
  5. Connecticut.
None of these states have large populations meaning that they are overrepresented in the eviction statistics. This data comes as the US Census released information showing that in the recently conducted Household Pulse Survey 35 percent of tenants and homeowners were behind on their rent or mortgage.

With no federal eviction ban in place and millions losing for unemployment benefits, many are looking to see if a new direct payment could be issued. However, no leaders on Capitol Hill have thrown their support behind the measure.

What will be included in the reconciliation bill?

Measures that did not make it into the infrastructure bill, including universal pre-K, free community college, and paid family leave, are included in the reconciliation package. In comments made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, he would like to see these aspects of Biden’s family and jobs plan passed through reconciliation.

Sanders, who has not been involved in the bipartisan negotiations, voiced his concerns over the lack of progressive policies included in the package. In an interview with PBS, he spoke to the disillusionment many feel towards government saying, “there are a lot of people in our country, working-class people, who are losing faith in the ability of government to address their needs. And what we are doing is just that.

Is a fourth stimulus check included in the reconciliation package?

One measure notably absent from the reconciliation package is a fourth stimulus check. While Sanders and other lawmakers have not spoken directly about why money was not allocated for a direct payment, some evidence is buried in the proposal.

Some of the measures included in the reconciliation bill will send money directly to US households.

The package includes funding to make the changes to the Child Tax Credit permanent. The bill would also ensure families pay no more than seven percent of their income for childcare and establish a paid federal family leave program.

These and the other components of the bill have vast public support and provide more sustainable support to families over one-off stimulus check payments.

Late last week, the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee released new details on central pieces of the reconciliation bill. This included information on tax credits for businesses across sectors.

Some of the credits aim to assist businesses in the energy transition by encouraging an increase in production in the wind and solar energy sector. Others are aimed at helping childcare facilities that form part of the Health and Human Services network pay their employees more by providing payroll tax credits directly to the centers.