More and more support has been developing for a fourth — and possible fifth — stimulus check amongst members of Congress.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, seven members of the influential Ways and Means Committee have joined fellow members of Congress who support additional stimulus checks.
It claims that that the American Rescue Plan’s checks alone will keep 11 millions people out of poverty this year, with unemployment insurance expansion and other provisions in the bill accounting for another five million people.
“A fourth and fifth stimulus check could keep an additional 12 million out of poverty,” the legislators claim. They also stated that the combined effects of Biden’s new bill and new stimulus checks could reduce the number in poverty this year from 44 million to 16 million.
The lawmakers defended their request for more stimulus money saying that not only do the checks help keep families and workers out of poverty, but they act as an economic stimulus by increasing spending and supporting jobs.
However, new reporting by the Boston Herald released yesterday might weaken this particular argument. Through data obtained from Internal Revenue Service records, they reported that “a staggering 1.24 million stimulus checks remain unspent from the first coronavirus-era bailout.” That is an estimated $1.7 billion unaccounted for based on the max $1,200 per household that was distributed.
The unspent checks are not lingering bank accounts though; they are from “people who either refused to accept, paid back or not cashed the stimulus checks they received from the IRS as a result of the CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020,” according to the data provided from the IRS.
The Boston Herald noted that the IRS data shows California as leading the country with 123,265 stimulus checks left unspent, Florida coming in second with 92,018 checks and Texas, New York and Pennsylvania rounding out the top five.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget took a different stance. They stated their data, which is based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, concludes that some of the money has not been spent due to slow or low demand and that data is either publicly unavailable or has a long lag time.
This combined information could hinder a push by legislators to put two more stimulus checks on the table, as the data could suggest that the checks are being utilized as more of a safeguard rather than a necessity to uplift the economy.
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