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Fourth stimulus check: Will Congress agree to a new round?

Small change lying on top of a government check.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Will a fourth stimulus check make its way to the Congress floor? Two months after the third stimulus check went out, many are wondering if more financial relief is on the way.

Whereas the $1,400 payment (that probably should've hit your bank account or mailbox by now) passed thanks to support from President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the White House said it won't propose another stimulus check.

Earlier this week, the IRS processed an additional batch of payments from stimulus check 3, totaling more than $1.8 billion. Those checks are being sent to nearly 1 million Americans this week. That brings the total of third stimulus payments to around 2.7 million totaling more than $3.8 billion.

On May 4, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, "We'll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free," when asked about the likelihood of more stimulus checks during a press conference.

This means the White House, or President Biden's administration, will not put forth a bill including a fourth stimulus check as it did with the third stimulus check. Instead, the, support for another round or recurring rounds of direct payments will need to come from Congress.

In order for additional stimulus checks to pass, lawmakers in Congress would need to write an economic bill including enough funds for a fourth stimulus check. Of course, the fourth stimulus check amount and eligibility guidelines could be adjusted to help this kind of legislation gain support in both the House and Senate.

A Change.org petition requesting a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids has nearly 2.2 million signatures, out of a goal of 3 million. However, it remains to be seen what effect this petition will have on Congress.

Even if Congress doesn't act, there is a chance that Californians may see a fourth stimulus check. As part of Governor Gavin Newsom's $100 billion "California Comeback Plan," the governor is proposing sending $600 checks to those earning less than $75,000, with an additional $500 per child. Newsom said this would represent nearly 11 million California residents, approximately 78 percent of the state. However, any such payments would require the approval of the legislature.

Will Congress propose monthly payments?

Congress hasn't taken any meaningful steps toward more stimulus funding. But we do know that at least two groups of lawmakers previously asked the White House to consider monthly stimulus checks until the end of the pandemic.

First, in January, more than 50 House Democrats sent a letter to the White House asking for recurring direct payments to be included in President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. 

Then, in late March after the third stimulus check passed, 21 Senate Democrats, including multiple party leaders penned a similar letter urging Biden to consider monthly stimulus checks in his subsequent Build Back Better plan. 

But when he shared details about the Build Back Better plan during his first official address to Congress, Biden did not mention recurring stimulus checks. The president didn't mention a fourth stimulus at all.

If you haven't received your third stimulus check, be sure to check your stimulus check status or call the IRS stimulus check phone number with questions regarding your payment. 

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.