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Momentum builds toward recurring 'stimmies'

A US stimulus check with some one-hundred-dollar bills
mcjeff / Shutterstock

Only a week after Biden took office in January, 56 House Democrats led by Minnesota's Ilhan Omar sent a letter urging the White House to consider recurring stimulus payments. No dollar amount was mentioned, but Omar and others have voiced support for $2,000 monthly payments.

“We are experiencing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with millions of Americans either unemployed, forced out of the workforce or facing a decline in hours and wages," the letter said.

The lawmakers added that last year's first $1,200 stimulus checks were typically spent within 10 days. The money mostly went toward household expenses like groceries and rent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With those needs met, others used some of the cash for saving and investing, a bureau survey found, or for other expenses that may have included buying affordable life insurance. Demand for those policies has surged during the pandemic.

Now, in their own letter, 21 members of the Senate are pushing Biden to put regular stimulus checks in his "Build Back Better" package. "This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads," the senators write.

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New checks could face obstacles

Support for more stimulus checks is far from universal. Earlier this month, the Democrats who control Congress struggled to push through Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID rescue package, which included $1,400 stimulus checks and other benefits.

The bill passed with simple majorities using a streamlined process that required no support from Republicans — who all voted no.

And, to win support from all Democratic senators, party leaders had to modify the income limits for the stimulus checks, to more directly target the money toward lower-income Americans.

Further stimulus checks would likely encounter resistance from moderate Democrats and Republicans alike.

It's not clear whether Biden would agree to provide Americans with a fourth round of direct relief payments. So far, there's been no comment from the White House on whether the president would go along with adding stimulus checks to his infrastructure plan.

What to do if you need money right now

Family of three with baby having quarrel at home
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock

If you can’t wait for lawmakers to decide whether to send out more stimulus checks, and you need cash ASAP, you have some options.

  • Cut the price of your debt. Many cash-strapped Americans have been living off their credit cards during the COVID crisis, and the interest can quickly get very expensive. Rein in your debt — and pay it off more rapidly — by rolling your balances into a lower-interest debt consolidation loan.

  • Shrink your insurance bills. Car insurance companies have been offering customers discounts as everyone has been driving far less through the pandemic. If your insurer isn’t willing to negotiate, it's time to shop around for a better deal. And while you’re at it, you could save hundreds by comparing rates to find a lower price on homeowners insurance.

  • Trim your budget and "make your own" stimulus check. By finding a few creative ways to cut back, you might squeeze more money out of your current budget. It may be time to streamline your streaming services — go through all your subscriptions and cancel the ones you’re not making the most of. Have a special talent or hobby? Set up a profile and turn it into a side hustle. And, download a free browser extension that will automatically hunt for better prices and coupons whenever you shop online.

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Sigrid Forberg Associate Editor

Sigrid’s is Moneywise.com's associate editor, and she has also worked as a reporter and staff writer on the Moneywise team.


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