When is that stimulus check coming? What about another after that?
As the U.S. Senate debates President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, there’s a real effort by Senate Democrats to make stimulus checks recurring for families in need until the pandemic is over.
In a letter penned this week, 10 senators, including Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Alex Padilla (California), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), pushed the Biden administration to provide recurring stimulus checks, possibly monthly, instead of sporadic payments that hinge on the passage of huge coronavirus relief packages.
"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 said. "Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions."
It didn't spell out a specific amount for the proposed recurring payments.
But could it really happen?
"I think at this point it is absolutely necessary to get more relief out to families," said Claudia Sahm, an economist who has worked at the Federal Reserve and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She told KCBS Radio families that got $600 in December can expect a $1,400 next, and then, maybe more.
Earlier this year, more than 50 U.S. House members proposed recurring $2,000 checks.
"Keep them going in some form, and the amount and who it goes to is still an open question, but keep them going until we have those 10 million people that are out of work now that weren’t before COVID-19, get them back to work," she said.
Sahm said the latest unemployment addition of more than 700,000 people is a good indication that the need is still there. "I truly believe that the risk of doing too much right now, if that is even possible, (is) low.”
More important than inflation concerns, she added, is keeping American families fed and sheltered.
The Senate could pass the $1.9 trillion package by the weekend.