Although the odds are against another stimulus check, it could happen under these circumstances.
- Rising prices have left many Americans struggling.
- Many people have signed a petition requesting another stimulus check.
- There would have to be appropriate support in the House and Senate in order for more stimulus to pass.
As record-high inflation wreaks havoc on family budgets, millions of Americans have signed a petition calling for another COVID-19 stimulus check. But how likely is it that lawmakers in DC will acquiescence to these demands and provide another direct payment into people’s bank accounts?
Here’s what would need to happen in order for a fourth stimulus check to be authorized.
Another stimulus check is possible only under these circumstances
Another stimulus check is possible only if a majority of the US House of Representatives and US Senate vote for an additional direct payment – and if President Joe Biden signs a financial relief bill into law authorizing the distribution of more funds.
Many Democrats would likely be willing to sign onto a proposal providing more money to the public. In fact, there have been several proposals put forth that would offer more stimulus relief. These include Build Back Better, which offered an expanded Child Tax Credit for parents; as well as several bills that would pay money to most Americans to help them deal with high gas prices. None of these bills have passed, to date.
One big issue is that Democrats have a narrow majority in the House of Representatives. And their majority in the Senate is even smaller. There are just 50 senators who generally vote with the Democrats, and Vice President Kamala Harris can serve as the tie-breaker if the Senate splits evenly.
To make matters more difficult, most legislation that passes through the Senate can be blocked by a procedural maneuver called the filibuster, if Republicans choose to exercise this option. To break a filibuster and move a bill through, 60 votes would be required. That means if lawmakers were to pass another stimulus bill through the regular legislative process, the votes of at least 10 Republicans would be needed.
Democrats also have the option to pass a bill through a process called reconciliation. Bills passed through reconciliation cannot be filibustered. This was how the last stimulus check became law with no Republican support. However, this would require the votes of all 50 Democrats in the Senate.
This means that in order for another stimulus bill to pass, either every Democrat in the Senate would need to support it unanimously or 10 Republican Senators plus every Democratic senator would need to vote in favor of it.
How likely is it that more stimulus bills will pass?
Several conservative Democrats have expressed concerns about providing more money for people to spend when inflation is surging. They have indicated they believe a large spending bill could increase demand for goods and services, worsening inflation by driving prices for goods and services up further. As a result, it’s unlikely that there would be 50 votes among Democrats in the Senate to pass another stimulus bill.
And Republicans did not support the last stimulus check, even when the pandemic was much worse, so it’s unlikely that 10 Republicans would vote in favor of more financial relief.
All of this means the chances of an additional direct payment are slim. The only way another check is likely is if economic conditions become much worse and lawmakers feel forced to act. If the country enters a deep recession, for example, or if a new COVID variant leads to additional lockdowns, then it’s possible that this could create enough pressure that another payment is authorized.
Outside of these situations, however, it is very unlikely Americans will see another stimulus payment in 2022.