Is Biden considering a fourth stimulus check? There's a chance.Sarah Tew/CNET
You may still not have your third stimulus check the IRS is sending out as part of the American Rescue Plan. But the White House is working ahead and hasn't ruled out a fourth stimulus payment this year. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration is looking to Congress for a fourth round of payments. "We'll see what members of Congress propose," Psaki said in response to a question about a fourth check.
Following March's $1.9 trillion bill, the Biden administration is now working on the next two stimulus proposals that could send new rounds of money to those struggling through the pandemic. Biden laid out in a speech his two new packages -- the American Jobs Plan and American Family Plan -- that would focus on creating new jobs, extend the child tax credit through 2025 and give working families more tax breaks and direct payments, if approved by Congress.
While the third stimulus check will help to restart the US economy, the growth will happen unevenly, economists say, with some cities projected to hurt for "decades," even though COVID-19 vaccination rates are on the upswing and the US economy is showing glimmers of hope. Would more direct payments arrive in a different form other than a stimulus check? We look at some of her possibilities for a fourth check below. Additionally, here's how to track your payment and contact the IRS if there's a problem. Also, here's how to calculate your child tax credit. This story is updated frequently.
Who is pushing for a 4th stimulus check?
Democratic members of Congress are urging Biden to include a fourth stimulus check in his proposals. A fourth stimulus payment could take many forms, including recurring or monthly payments. Earlier this spring, a group of 10 progressive lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, asked Biden to include regular stimulus payments (PDF) in his next stimulus bill: "We urge you to include recurring direct payments and automatic unemployment insurance extensions tied to economic conditions in your Build Back Better long-term economic plan." A few weeks later, another group of 21 Democrats made a similar request to Biden.
Biden rolls out his next two stimulus packages. Would one include a fourth stimulus check?
The American Rescue Plan approved in March is Biden's first stimulus package, with its $1,400 checks, $300 extra in weekly unemployment benefits and an expanded child tax credit running into 2022. (See if you qualify for the recurring child tax credit payments.) The Biden administration is working on the sequels for 2021, which the president has referred to collectively as the Build Back Better plan. The first proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, aims to invest in the nation's energy grid, transportation, broadband and water systems -- and may not include stimulus checks, despite the urging of progressive senators (PDF).
(Note: There's some debate over what counts as a "relief," "rescue" or "stimulus" package. For the purposes of this article, "stimulus" refers to any funding, check, tax break or measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic or to inject money into the US economy.)
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The next stimulus proposal could look very different from the preceding ones
The American Rescue Plan doesn't authorize just one direct payment. It contains three types of payment designed to help struggling individuals and families. It's possible a future bill could extend or introduce more money through direct checks that go to specific groups of recipients, including parents who earn below a certain income or people out of work.
Here are the three types of direct payments approved in the March 2021 bill:
Child tax credit: An expansion of the child tax credit for 2021 sends qualifying families $3,600 for each child under age 6 and $3,000 for children age 6 or older, in periodic payments through the end of the year and into 2022.
Federal unemployment bonus: A monthly federal unemployment check is being sent until Sept. 6 at up to $300 a month, in addition to state benefits for unemployed workers.
Congress has already approved a variety of aid this year.Sarah Tew/CNET
Congress could send more payments this year in 4 other ways
The third leg of Biden's economic stimulus strategy -- called the American Family Plan -- could include more money going out directly to individuals and families.
Approve recurring payments: Biden's third proposal is the next likely place for Congress to provide more funding. This is where Democratic senators are calling on Biden to push for recurring fourth stimulus checks during the pandemic.
Pass a minimum wage hike: Some senators continue to look for ways to boost the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 per hour. In his speech before Congress, Biden called on the legislators to raise the minimum wage to $15. Sens. Mitt Romney and Kyrsten Sinema have also pitched a hike. Some proponents want to set the bar at a $15 hourly wage but others are looking to go to $11 an hour. "If any senator believes this is the last time they will cast a vote on whether or not to give a raise to 32 million Americans, they are sorely mistaken," Sanders tweeted on March 5. A February report from the Brookings Institute models how a $15 minimum wage could help make 37% of US households financially self-sufficient.
Make the child tax credit raise permanent: Money from the expanded child tax credit is set to start in July, sending periodic payments to lower-income and middle-income families with children. In his speech before Congress, Biden called on the House and Senate to extend the expanded child tax credit to 2025. Others, including Romney, also support making the credit permanent since it will lift millions of children out of poverty.
Renew federal unemployment payments beyond September: Along with recurring payments, the 10 progressive senators in their letter to Biden requested he also extend federal unemployment assistance beyond September.
Here are all the ways the American Rescue Plan can help you, how much money you could expect in the third check and how to track your stimulus payment. And here is how you could get a discount on your internet bill through an FCC program.