Lawmakers, citizens keep pushing for fourth check
The White House and congressional leaders have given no signals that they think a fourth stimulus check is necessary. But millions of Americans struggling through the lingering pandemic beg to differ.
New names are being added each week to an online petition started by a Colorado restaurateur that calls for direct payments of $2,000 to every adult and $1,000 to every child in America until the pandemic is officially in the rear view. The petition has drawn close to 2.8 million signatures, and is closing in on a goal of 3 million.
Meanwhile, scores of Democrats in Congress have signed their names to letters urging the president to continue providing some form of direct financial support to households while COVID remains a threat.
"A fourth and fifth check could keep an additional 12 million out of poverty," said seven members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, in a letter to Biden in mid-May.
More recently, Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar introduced legislation to provide up to $1,200 per month to U.S. adults and as much as $600 a month to kids.
"We as a nation have the ability to make sure everyone has their basic needs like food, housing and health care met," Omar says, in a news release issued July 30.
Why a fourth stimulus check is unlikely
But the deck is stacked heavily against a fourth check.
The overall economy seems to have no need for emergency aid, despite the country's COVID setback. Unemployment slid in July from 5.9% to 5.4%, and employers added a stronger-than-expected 943,000 new jobs.
If economic growth continues at the pace seen during the first two quarters of 2021, the economy could expand by as much as 6.5% this year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates. That would be the best showing since 1984.
Congress is now on its summer recess until mid-September. Before lawmakers left Washington, the priorities were a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending bill and a $3.5 trillion Democratic budget bill of new social spending.
In their letter to Biden, the House Ways and Means members had asked the president to roll stimulus checks into the "families plan" he unveiled earlier this year. Proposals from that plan now form the foundation of the social spending bill.
But the White House hasn't suggested that relief payments be added to the legislation. Instead, officials have pointed out that Americans are already getting ample amounts of other aid, like emergency rental assistance and monthly child tax credit payments.
Create your own stimulus
If you’re not eligible for any of the ongoing stimulus programs, which also include mortgage aid for homeowners, you still have plenty of ways to dig up additional cash.
If you’re carrying multiple credit card balances and other high-interest debt, you might roll them into a single debt consolidation loan. You’ll have only one payment to budget around, the lower interest rate will slash the cost of your debt and you may be able to pay it off faster.
Do you own a home? If you haven't refinanced your mortgage in the past year, you could be missing out on major savings. With mortgage rates comfortably under 3%, mortgage technology and data provider Black Knight recently indicated that close to 14 million Americans could save an average $293 a month with a refi.
Prices can be all over the place when you shop online, so make sure you're not overpaying. Download a free browser add-on that will automatically hunt for lower prices and coupons before you click "buy."
Finally, you don't need another stimulus check — or much money at all — to earn returns in today's still-hot stock market. A wildly popular app helps you invest in a diversified portfolio using little more than your "spare change" from everyday purchases.