During the pandemic, the federal government has sought to mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19 and related restrictions by providing assistance to Americans. This is done in the form of the boosted unemployment benefits and the extensive Child Tax Credit, but by far the most far-reaching of those programs were the three rounds of stimulus checks.
First introduced in the CARES Law of March 2020, Payments with economic impact (more commonly known as stimulus checks) are a direct injection of money into individual people’s bank accounts. As we approach a year after the final payment round is approved, we look back at the stimulus checks in 2021…
Last year only one round of direct payments was distributed
2021 kicked off with a change at the White House when President Biden was sworn in, and brought with it an ambitious legislative proposal known as the American rescue plan. The bill comprised about $1.9 trillion in federal funding overall and while campaigning in the all-important runoff election in Georgia last January, Democrats promised to hit a $2,000 stimulus check if they successfully retake the Senate.
After the victories of two Democrats, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, the party claimed unified control in Washington, giving them greater freedom to pass legislation. However, many were disappointed to find that Biden’s proposals stimulus check worth only $1,400, which he justified as an “addition” to the $600 checks approved by President Trump the previous month, bringing the total to $2,000.
BREAKING: Consumer spending rose 4.2% last month, the fastest pace in nine months, while incomes, boosted by stimulus measures, rose to a record high of 21.1% in March. The gains provide further evidence that the economy is poised for a strong recovery.
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 30, 2021
The lower-than-expected payment of the third stimulus check was disappointing to many, but at least it enabled Biden to push through the entire US bailout plan and begin distribution fairly quickly. By June the IRS reported That 163.5 million payments was sent as part of the third stimulus check, totaling more than $390 billion.
Little desire in Washington to push for fourth stimulus check in 2021
After enacting the US bailout plan within his first two months in office, Biden moved on to other, more far-sighted legislation to aid the nation’s economic recovery. In the late summer he unveiled a huge infrastructure bill which was intended to boost the industry.
Biden’s version didn’t get enough support in Congress, but a revised bipartisan proposal worth about $1 trillion was duly signed into law in November. The president then continued to work on the more ambitious Build Back Better package, which included more social spending.
The approximately $2 trillion package included additional funding for programs such as the expanded Child Tax Credit and consumer rebates to boost the green economy, but without another round of stimulus checks.
.@LeaderHoyer to Minority Whip Scalise: “Unfortunately, we have no help from you. […] All those problems you mentioned would be extremely worse if we didn’t get through the US bailout plan. […] Not a single person on your side of the aisle voted for that.” pic.twitter.com/NVbrdGY7Nq
— The Hill (@deheuvel) October 24, 2021
At points in 2021, there was a tidal wave of support in Congress to consider a fourth stimulus check. In May a group of 56 Democrats in the House of Representatives signed a letter to Biden call to $2,000 Recurring Monthly Payments to provide “security in a crisis” to American families.
Though Vice President Kamala Harris had backed a similar proposal as senator in 2020, the request from lawmakers failed to gain traction in the White House. After failing to get enough votes for the Build Back Better bill, it seems unlikely there will be enough support for an additional stimulus scheme in the near future unless Republican members agree to cross the aisle and make some more ambitious proposals. of the Democrats.