New stimulus checks: 21 senators call for recurring payments, extended unemployment in Biden’s next bill

Coronavirus Stimulus

Senators say checks, added unemployment should continue until economy recovers from pandemic

A photo of the economic stimulus check that was sent to US citizens during the covid-19/coronavirus quarantine

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Nearly two dozen members of the Senate Democratic Caucus are calling for President Joe Biden to include recurring stimulus checks and an extension of additional unemployment benefits in his next coronavirus relief bill. 

In a letter to Biden released Tuesday, 21 senators led by Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) said the plan should provide regular direct aid payments and continue $300 in additional unemployment while ending those benefits should be “tied to economic conditions.”

They say the combined measures would help Americans who lost their job or continue to see their hours reduced due to the economic effects of the pandemic while tying the benefits to economic indicators instead of relying on legislation to continue turning them into “automatic stabilizers” for the economy.

“This crisis is far from over, and families deserve certainty that they can put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads,” the letter says. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

Analysis: 4th stimulus check could bring 7 million out of poverty

An analysis from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center found a fourth stimulus check could lift over 7 million people out of poverty. Currently, there are no plans for an additional round of direct aid and the added unemployment benefits are set to expire on Sept. 6.

Biden announced the $2.3 trillion Build Back Better plan Wednesday night, but the plan does not include direct payments or an extension of unemployment benefits.

However, Biden is expected to announce an additional “phase” of recovery measures focusing on domestic programs like child care and family tax credits, paid for by tax hikes on wealthy individuals and families.

No Republicans voted for the latest $1.9 trillion relief measure passed in March, some arguing it added to the federal deficit while the economy is already improving. GOP leaders are already panning Biden’s latest package as too big and too costly for them to support.

“It seems like President Biden has an insatiable appetite to spend more money and raise people’s taxes,” said Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the GOP whip, in an interview.

Supporters who signed the letter include the number two Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin (D-IL), Budget Committee Chair Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Banking Committee Chair Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

In January, more than 50 members of the House Democratic Caucus signed off on a letter calling for recurring direct payments as well.

The letter did not receive universal endorsement from the Democratic caucus, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and several senior senators are not included. No Republicans signed the letter.

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