White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that it would be up to Congress to decide whether or not more direct payments would come this year. She stated, “we’ll see what members of Congress propose, but those are not free” referencing that supplying the checks is a costly endeavor for the federal government.
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The comments also come during a time where renewed interest in payments has spiked after President Biden offered his American Families Plan to Congress. Psaki referenced the child tax credit that President Joe Biden proposed as part of his plan.
The child tax credit is currently, and temporarily, part of the COVID-19 stimulus relief bill passed in March. It allows up to $3,600 per child for children under 6 and $3,000 for children over 6 up to 17. This is thought by some, a type of “fourth stimulus” as it is giving extra money to parents in addition to the third stimulus check.
Some confusion has centered around Biden’s announcement of his new plan and the fourth stimulus. The president’s plan outlines his desire to extend the child tax credit until 2025, but there is no promise of a fourth stimulus.
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The White House can only bring forth proposals to Congress and the idea of a fourth stimulus has already been pushed by legislators. As Psaki points out though, it is up to Congress, not Biden, if a fourth stimulus check will be in the cards or not.
Psaki’s comments suggest potential roadblocks to a fourth stimulus. Biden’s administration has already set before Congress several trillion dollars worth of plans, in the form of an infrastructure and social benefits plan. The fourth stimulus might also not be on the docket much longer as economic recovery ramps up.
As Insider points out though, experts also noted that the payments were “efficient at reaching people unable to access unemployment benefits.” They stated that a report from the Economic Security Project, an organization advocating cash benefits, said fourth and fifth direct payments would keep 12 million Americans out of poverty.
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