A petition for monthly stimulus checks of $2,000 has drawn nearly 2.9 million supporters, as the highly virulent Delta variant continues to drive up COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the U.S. But while online petitions for cash payments continue to gain traction, that support isn’t translating to pressure on members of Congress.
The Change.org petition, launched by Denver restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin last year, calls for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to deliver legislation that would provide a “$2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis.”
The petition has gained more than 2,887,000 signatures as of Saturday, with about 100,000 new signatures in the past month. It will become one of Change.org’s most signed petitions if it reaches its goal of 3 million signatures.
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat, introduced legislation on July 30 that would establish a federal universal basic income system. Under the proposed five-year pilot program, U.S. adults earning under $75,000 would receive $1,200 per month and $600 for each dependent child.
But Omar’s guaranteed income bill only drew support from four legislators—Democratic Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri, Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania, Jamaal Bowmanof New York and Pramila Jayapal of Washington.
More than 80 Democrats in Congress have supported further stimulus cash payments this year.
Twenty-one senators urged President Joe Biden to support a fourth round of stimulus checks in a letter sent March 30. The lawmakers argued that the last federal payment of $1,400 would not be enough to help low-income families struggling under the financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
Led by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, the coalition of senators included a broad range of Democrats, from moderates such as Debbie Stabenow and Michael Bennet to progressives including Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, and six committee chairs across finance, agriculture, banking, armed services, judiciary and budget.
“These payments help keep families out of poverty, but they also act as economic stimulus by increasing spending and supporting jobs,” they wrote. “Now is the time for boldness.”
In a separate letter sent to Biden in January, more than 50 House Democrats also pushed for recurring payments for the duration of the pandemic.
More than 150 economists—including Jason Furman, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under the Obama administration—pushed the federal government to get behind “recurring direct stimulus payments” in an open letter last year.
“Regular, lasting direct stimulus payments will boost consumer spending, driving the economic recovery and shortening the recession,” they wrote.
But despite the ongoing pressure, it’s now clear that further stimulus checks are unlikely to be sent out. The Biden administration has pivoted to advancing two infrastructure bills, neither of which contain any direct payments.