To support families and better position the US economy to fight climate change, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better bill in early November, officially known as the Reconciliation Act. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration in the Upper House. Households with children could expect an additional 12 months of child tax credit advance payments next year as well as other tax breaks and grants to help with child care. Democrats aim to pass the bill before the end of the year when the advance payments will expire if the extension is not passed.
One measure missing from the “care economy” proposals is a fourth nationwide stimulus check.
Yet millions of Americans still struggle to meet regular expenses, put food on the table, and pay rent, which has led to calls for new stimulus checks. The most recent data from the Household Pulse Survey conducted by the US Census Bureau revealed that eleven percent of households with children “sometimes” or “often” did not have enough to eat. When looking at food insecurity in households where respondents reported working, the rate only fell to eight percent, highlighting the impact of rapidly rising prices on families in the United States.
Calls for a fourth stimulus check continued
Since late spring, the White House has made it clear that it is not in favor of a fourth stimulus check, but that it will back Congress if it decides to adopt another. However, with the debate on the president increasingly tense agenda, many lawmakers who had pushed for another direct payment abandoned their support publicly.
This does not mean that support has waned among the public. A Change.org petition to send monthly payments of value $ 2,000 reached three million signatures this month. In addition, an older people’s rights organization called the Senior League started pushing for a $ 1,400 stimulus check to be sent to Social Security recipients as they heard that many older people are struggle to make ends meet. Members of Congress have yet to respond to both efforts.
Which states send stimulus checks?
Earlier this month, Governor of Maine Janet Mills announced that the state would send a disaster relief payment of $ 285 to more than half a million people. The check is sent as a thank you to the workers who continued to drive the state’s economy forward throughout the pandemic.
California has experienced a historic budget surplus in 2020 and decided to send a stimulus check from at least $ 600 to families with a gross annual income of less than $ 75,000. For those with children, payments of $ 1,100 are available. Payments will continue until the end of the year while the California Franchise Tax Board processes tax returns and sends refunds to residents. Unlike federal stimulus checks, Golden State stimulus checks can be claimed by immigrants.
Maryland approved a major poverty reduction measure in February that sent checks of up to $ 500 to Maryland’s poorest families and $ 300 to its poorest filers. As part of the state’s $ 1.2 billion stimulus package, the increase in payments will continue over the next three years in the form of a tax refund. A family with two children earning $ 25,000 per year would receive $ 1,100 more each year. Maryland was one of the only Republican-led states to adopt such a measure.
In June, the New Jersey General Assembly adopted a State budget of $ 46.4 billion, including $ 319 million for tax refund checks of up to $ 500 for about three-quarters of a million New Jersey families. There were two eligibility conditions. The first is that a couple who deposited jointly were expected to earn less than $ 150,000, or those who deposit individually who earn up to $ 75,000 will receive checks of up to $ 500. Second, filers must have at least one dependent child.
Thank you bonuses and risk premium stimulus checks
Some states have approved sending stimulus checks to teachers and first responders who have continued to work through the pandemic.
Florida has approved a bill to send bonuses of $ 1,000 to first responders and educators. Governor DeSantis also offered $ 5,000 to police officers across the country who want to avoid vaccine mandates to move to Florida, but this proposal is pending legislative approval.
Georgia, Michigan, and Tennessee have teacher bonus programs in their states, but in the case of Tennessee, it came at the cost of a pay rise. Teachers in some districts in California and Texas have also seen additional funds sent to them.