A fourth stimulus check can still happen — here’s how
President Joe Biden hasn’t given Americans much hope that a new round of stimulus checks will be on the way. But the fight for more direct payments is still very much in play.
Congressional Democrats continue to push for additional checks and are hopeful a maneuver that helped pass Biden's COVID rescue bill in March could be used a second time to send more cash to people's bank accounts and mailboxes.
Millions who are still without a job or are working fewer hours because of the pandemic are urging officials to provide further relief that could help them cover essential bills and pay down debt.
Here’s how a fourth stimulus check remains possible.
So far, no one is saying no to a fourth 'stimmy'Kevin Chen Images / Shutterstock
Biden has remained mum on the topic of additional stimulus checks as support for them continues to grow.
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."
Calls are mounting from everyday Americans, too. Nearly 2.26 million people have added their signatures to an online petition started by an out-of-work restaurant owner from Denver — it asks 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."
Yet neither the White House nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated an official opinion on whether there might be a fourth stimulus check. Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki recently told reporters that stimulus checks “are not free,” and that lawmakers need to decide whether to provide more.
Fourth check becomes more urgent as third round wraps upStory continuesWilliam Sawalich / Shutterstock
Meanwhile, Americans are still receiving up to $1,400 from the third and latest round of stimulus checks, though it's quickly winding down. As of last week, close to 167 million direct payments had been made as part of Biden $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue package.
The relief checks, direct deposits and debit cards distributed since March 12 have been worth a combined $391 billion, the IRS says.
The most recent payments have included bonus stimulus checks for people who earlier this year received money based on their 2019 tax returns but became eligible for bigger payments thanks to their recently processed 2020 taxes.
In the past few weeks, more than 900,000 of these "plus-up" payments, as the IRS calls them, have gone out.
The disbursement may be dwindling, but the tax agency says it will continue to make new payments each week. So if you haven't filed your 2020 taxes yet, it may not be too late to submit your return and potentially collect some stimulus money you might use to pay bills or start investing.
Congress can make room for fourth stimulus check
Speaker Pelosi has been saying Congress needs to focus on passing Biden’s spending package for families, and his infrastructure bill to fix U.S. roads, bridges, water systems and more.
The goal is to complete both by the end of summer. That still leaves time to toss stimulus checks into the families plan, as the House Ways and Means Committee members 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.
It's a trick Congress relied on to get the president's COVID bill through both chambers in March without any Republican votes; the Senate's parliamentarian just ruled that the streamlined process may be used once more this year, according to The Hill.
For now, Biden's party is putting a spotlight on another kind of stimulus payments 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.
Create a fourth stimulus check of your ownProstock-studio / Shutterstock
It's not clear at the moment when or if there will be a fourth stimulus check. So, instead of holding your breath and waiting for it to happen, open your eyes to ways you might give yourself more financial breathing room.
Decrease your debts. If you’ve been relying on plastic to get you through the pandemic, you've likely racking up some serious bills. High-interest credit card debt can be tamed if you take out a lower-interest debt consolidation loan.
Refinance your mortgage. 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 better deal. Comparison shopping also can help you get a lower price 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.