Since the third and final stimulus checks were mailed out near the start of this year, there have been repeated calls from some for Congress to authorize more direct assistance to US citizens. Many people have noted that the US isn’t in a much better place, economically, than it was when the various direct checks were authorized.
However, this doesn’t mean that Congress has the time, or even the desire, to authorize yet more spending. Several issues stand between a fourth stimulus check and the light of day. Here are a few reasons you shouldn’t hold your breath for more direct assistance from the government.
Right now, Congress is focused mainly on passing President Joe Biden’s sweeping infrastructure bill. The massive $1 trillion bill is a huge piece of legislation that Biden hopes can be his signature piece of policy to define his first term as president.
As such, the White House has put intense emphasis on the bill, imploring Democrats in Congress to fight diligently to pass the infrastructure bill in its current form. This will require Democrats in Congress to use some complicated stopgaps to prevent Republicans from blocking the bill outright. As such, the infrastructure bill is likely to take up the majority of Congress’s time for the foreseeable future.
Democrats in Congress might be growing weary of further spending. They hope to pass the infrastructure bill soon, which would authorize a massive amount of federal spending. Such a move would make it difficult for the party to explain the need for yet more money to go out the door immediately after.
Even though some Democrats may favor such spending, some moderate Democrats could break the party’s voting bloc, which would be a disaster. Democrats only narrowly control the Senate: it’s a 50-50 split, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker. If even a single Democrat broke with the plan for a fourth stimulus check, it could cause such a law to fail outright.
While you should never say “never,” it’s unlikely that any further direct assistance from the government is coming soon. Between the complicated situation in Washington and the massive hurdle of the infrastructure bill, there doesn’t seem to be a big among lawmakers to make another stimulus check a priority.
That’s not to say it can’t happen: the political situation could always shift. However, for the time being, you’d be better off not betting on a check from the federal government any time soon.