Will there be a fourth stimulus check? While many Democratic senators strongly support one, several obstacles stand in the way.
Over 50 House Progressives support a fourth stimulus payment and have been pushing Biden to prioritize direct checks that will allow families to meet their basic needs. A letter signed by Democratic Senators like Bernie Sanders, Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib maintained that a fourth stimulus cheque would afford Americans “the certainty that they could put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.” A poll by Data for Progress showed that in January two-thirds of voters also supported $2,000 monthly payments. Further, the Urban Institute believes that a fourth check could reduce poverty by 6.4 percent this year.
Despite this support, here’s why a fourth stimulus cheque seems unlikely. For starters, vaccinations are increasing at a rate of under 2 million doses a day. According to the CDC, vaccinated adults can now forgo masks and gather in indoor and outdoor spaces. This will provide a boost to spending, hiring, and business confidence and help the nation’s economy to recover even faster. Spending power will only increase once the monthly Child Tax Credit payments begin in July 2021.
Aside from the economy, a fourth stimulus cheque also faces opposition from Republican leadership. The Biden administration was only able to push the American Rescue Plan Act which included the third stimulus check through a process called reconciliation which requires a simple majority. You can only pass one reconciliation bill per fiscal year so to gain approval for a fourth stimulus check, Biden would need every Democratic vote and at least 10 Republican votes. This is unlikely. Besides, the Biden administration is now focused on other priorities especially his infrastructure plan which also faces Republican opposition.