KEY POINTS

  • A group of 21 Democrats urged Biden to include recurring payments in a new spending package
  • Biden unveiled his $2 trillion "Build Back Better"program on Wednesday 
  • A fourth stimulus payment would lift over 7 million Americans from poverty

A group of 21 Senate Democrats on Wednesday wrote a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to include recurring direct stimulus payments and extended unemployment benefits in his recovery plan as the U.S. faces another wave of COVID-19 cases. 

“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 senators' letter states. “Families should not be at the mercy of constantly-shifting legislative timelines and ad hoc solutions.”

The letter also noted that "recurring direct payments have wide support from both the general public and economic experts."

The senators, led by Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden of Oregon, pointed out that at least 56 House members said in January that the third round of payments amounting to $1,400 was not enough to help struggling Americans pay for their basic needs. 

"To truly build back better, families need stability and certainty through ongoing relief," the letter notes. 

Wyden doesn't want what occurred in the summer of 2020 to happen again. At the time, a boost in unemployment benefits expired, causing millions of Americans to plunge into poverty. Even though the job market is now improving, about 19 million Americans are still receiving jobless benefits, and many lawmakers are worried that the stimulus measures in effect won't be enough.

The other lawmakers who signed the letter include Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.,  Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

A fourth stimulus check could lift up to 7.3 million Americans out of poverty, according to analysis from the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute. 

“Another round of payments could lift an additional 6.6 to 7.3 million people out of poverty, depending on whether the payment was restricted to citizens or made available to everyone,” the Urban Institute wrote

Biden unveiled his $2 trillion "Build Back Better" program on Wednesday during a pit stop in Pittsburgh. The package is one of two complementary measures that the administration will roll out.

The plan is expected to include measures for education, paid leave and health care, as well as billions of dollars for transportation, broadband and climate change.

Congressional Democrats may pass part of the coronavirus recovery plan through a budget reconciliation process, which would not require support from Republicans.

US President Joe Biden's name will not appear on the $1,400 stimulus checks going out to most Americans US President Joe Biden's name will not appear on the $1,400 stimulus checks going out to most Americans Photo: AFP / Olivier DOULIERY