White House says Biden is 'open' to a fourth check
Biden has stayed away from addressing the topic of a fourth stimulus check directly, but when his spokeswoman was asked in recent days if he supported another round of direct payments, she said the president was open to proposals.
“He’s happy to hear from a range of ideas on what would be most effective and what's most important to the economy moving forward," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week — with a caveat.
"But he’s also proposed what he thinks is going to be the most effective for the short term, for putting people back to work, to getting through this pivotal period of time, and also making us more competitive over the long term," Psaki added, referring to his infrastructure bill to fix U.S. roads, bridges, water systems and more.
More than 80 members of Congress have signed letters urging the president to provide repeated payments for the remainder of the pandemic. Most recently, seven members of the influential House Ways and Means Committee wrote to ask the president to include regular checks in his new “families plan."
Supporters see evidence the checks are working
Backers of additional stimulus checks are pointing to new evidence that previous payments offered crucial relief. A University of Michigan analysis of census data found that the last two rounds of stimulus checks resulted in lower rates of financial instability, food shortages and depression.
"Government can and should continue to address the needs of working people, not just the 1%," Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a tweet last week citing key results of the report.
Surveys have found that many people have spent their relief money on essential food and housing costs, though uses also have included saving, investing and spending on other items. Affordable life insurance may be one of those — demand for policies has seen a sharp increase because of the pandemic.
Growing numbers of everyday Americans are urging the government to provide further payments. Over 2.3 million people have signed an online petition started by an out-of-work restaurant owner from Denver asking for new $2,000 stimulus checks for adults and $1,000 payments for kids. Supporters don’t want the checks to end there.
"Moving forward Congress needs to make recurring checks automatic If certain triggers are met," the petition says. "No more waiting around for our government to send the help we need."
Congress still has time slip in a fourth stimulus check
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging Congress to focus on passing Biden’s infrastructure bill and his families package.
The president's energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, told CNN that House Democrats would begin the work of drafting an infrastructure bill on Wednesday: "This has got to be done soon."
Still, the negotiations between the two political parties and among the Democrats themselves seem far from over, leaving time to toss stimulus checks into the families plan, as the House Ways and Means members have suggested.
Some Democrats are pushing for Biden to reuse an arcane procedural tactic that would allow the new legislation to pass more easily, with just simple majorities in the House and Senate — and without any votes from Republicans.
Meanwhile, Biden's party is putting a spotlight on another kind of stimulus payments that are already in the works. Under a temporary expansion of the child tax credit, many U.S. families will receive monthly checks for up to $300 per child for six months, starting in mid-July.
But what if you can't wait for Washington?
The economy is recovering, but 9.3 million Americans are still unemployed, the government said last week. Whether there will be a fourth stimulus check is still an open question. If you have an immediate need for an extra payment, here are some ways you can essentially make one of your own:
Reduce your debts. If you’ve been relying on plastic to get you through the pandemic, you've likely racked up some serious balances. High-interest credit card debt can be tamed if you take out a lower-interest debt consolidation loan.
Consider a mortgage refi. If you own a home, 30-year mortgage rates recently dipped below 3% again and are offering you a new shot at slashing your housing costs. By refinancing at today’s bargain rates, you could save hundreds of dollars a month, and thousands over the life of your loan.
Cut your insurance costs. Take a little time to shop around and compare rates on homeowners insurance when your policy comes up for renewal, because you might easily find a lower price on your coverage. Comparison shopping also can help you get a better deal on car insurance.
Put your spare change to work in the stock market. Try a low-stakes approach to investing in the stock market, which has continued to climb throughout the recovery. A wildly popular app can help you grow a diversified portfolio simply by investing "spare change" from everyday purchases.