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Fourth stimulus check pressure mounts — more lawmakers demand monthly payments

second stimulus check date
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The demand for a fourth stimulus check or additional stimulus relief is still percolating in Congress, though the possibility that future checks will actually garner widespread political support still appears slim. 

Earlier this week, seven Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to President Biden requesting the administration add recurring stimulus checks to the American Families Plan announced earlier this spring.

We “urge you to prioritize both automatic [unemployment insurance] extensions and recurring direct payments tied to economic conditions,” the letter states. “The pandemic has served as a stark reminder that families and workers need certainty in a crisis. They deserve to know they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. They should not be at the mercy of constantly shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

Lawmakers cited research from left-leaning think tanks showing how additional stimulus checks could lift millions of Americans out of poverty. They did not name a specific amount for direct payments nor suggest an income cap to determine who should receive ongoing relief. 

Letter signatories include Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-California), Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin), Don Beyer (D-Virginia), Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Judy Chu (D-California), Jimmy Panetta (D-California) and Brad Schneider (D-Illinois).

This latest letter echoes similar calls from Democrats in both the House and Senate earlier this year for additional stimulus checks, whether one-time or recurring. More than 50 House members (including four of the seven lawmakers who signed onto this most recent call) sent a letter to the White House in January, and a similar letter was composed by 21 Senate Democrats in March. 

A fourth stimulus check also has support from the general public: a Change.org petition for $2,000-per-month payments has collected more than 2.2 million signatures.

Where does a fourth stimulus check stand? 

Online rumors have suggested that a fourth stimulus check is already a done deal, a claim that’s false. Various posts on Twitter and Facebook, as well as a YouTube video, have asserted that the Biden administration is sending checks to Americans who are vaccinated, or at least is warming up to the idea of additional direct payments. 

Again, there has been no meaningful movement toward a fourth relief check. 

So far, eligible Americans have received three stimulus checks. The first, which totaled up to $1,200 per person, was provided by the CARES Act passed in March 2020. The second, a $600 payment, hit bank accounts around the new year, and a third check of up to $1,400, part of Biden's American Recovery Plan, is still being paid out in waves as 2020 tax returns are processed. 

Emily Long
Emily Long is a Utah-based freelance writer who covers tech, security, and personal finance. She has strong opinions on what passes for good coffee and would rather be hiking right now.