January 18, 2022

Reopen calls for fourth stimulus check

A small business owner wears a mask and hangs an Open sign on the front door of her store.

Image Source: Getty Images

COVID-19 continues to wreak medical and financial damage.

Most important points:

  • If there is another stimulus round, it will likely go to small business owners.
  • Political barriers to further aid remain.

We have been writing for months that there is little chance of a fourth check bank accounts soon. The stock market is up, more people are back to work (or starting their own businesses), and most Republicans are absolutely against more aid to the American people.

Just as we closed the door to the possibility of a fourth audit, lawmakers broke it open again — at least a little. When asked about the possibility of more stimulus funding earlier this week, Jen Psaki, a White House spokeswoman, said, “We’re in constant talks.”

And that was it. Psaki’s comment was just enough to make us wonder three things:

  1. With whom is the White House “constantly in talks” about more stimulus money?
  2. Biden’s economy appears to be on solid ground. Why the urge for more stimulus funds?
  3. Is there a new check for all Americans below a certain income threshold?

Here we try to answer these three questions.

Who’s talking?

Make no mistake; most Republican lawmakers are determined to block additional aid. Still, in what may be a hopeful sign to some, a small bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans have been meeting quietly for weeks, hoping to devise a targeted aid package to meet the needs of small businesses, such as restaurants, gyms and housing. . entertainment venues.

In mid-December, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Roger Wicker drafted a $68 billion proposal that would include a combination of new spending and repurposing unused money authorized under previous financial aid packages. If passed, the money would be spent on the small businesses that are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.

In addition, Democrats continue to push hard to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA). BBBA would re-approve the expanded child tax credit advance that expired in December, leaving millions of families unsure whether they will ever see a monthly child tax credit check again.

A big obstacle

Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin stands in the way of the BBBA and the extended child tax credit. Manchin has blamed his reluctance to pass the BBBA several times on various issues, including inflation, the national deficit and Who would receive more money if monthly child tax credit payments resumed.

Although the expanded child tax credit raised millions, American children out of poverty, and 346,000 children in West Virginia have benefited from the program, Manchin says he cannot support an extension of the child tax credit because he fears parents will spend the money on illegal drugs.

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, 50,000 children in Manchin’s home state (the second poorest in the US) will be at risk of poverty or deeper poverty if Manchin joins Republicans in voting against BBBA.

What’s the problem?

In one word: ommicron. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, coronavirus cases in the US have reached record highs, with hospitals being flooded with new patients.

Life looked like it would return to normal there for a while. Vaccines and boosters were available, new treatments were on the way and the economy was picking up steam. But here we are in January, with more than 832,000 Americans dead and the number rising by the day. Nearly 4 out of 10 eligible Americans are not fully vaccinated, and companies are paying the economic price of sick and hospitalized employees and customers.

The profits made are in danger of disappearing, and companies that look like they might survive are faced with a new wave of adversity. While it’s true that omicron may not show the same symptoms as COVID-19 or its delta variant, doctors warn that it is much more transmissible and likely to reach a greater number of people.

There is little that can be done to protect the economy from: ommicron, especially if the number of new cases continues to grow at the current rate and new pandemic restrictions and closures are introduced.

Who is likely to receive future funds?

It appears that future incentive payments will target small business owners. Whether it’s a daycare closing due to coronavirus cases or a gift shop with underserved customers, these are the people most likely to receive another round of cash.

Whether there will be another round of stimulus payments will depend on what happens to the virus. Will it continue to infect, or will herd immunity be achieved? Will further stimulus payments depend on new spending, or is there still enough unused cash cleared under previous financial aid packages to raise the funds needed to keep small businesses afloat?

There’s enough in the air for us to be honest that we’re not sure where these new two-party talks will lead. We know that the first three rounds of the stimulus checks were sent as the number of COVID-19 cases increased dramatically. The first was in April 2020, at the start of the pandemic. The second was in January 2021, when the second wave of cases hit U.S. shores hard. And the last checkup was in March 2021, as the number of cases continued to rise, but vaccines were not yet widely available.

For now, it’s best to leave the door ajar and keep an eye on Washington DC to see what happens.

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