It’s only been about three months since President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package known as the American Rescue Plan into law — legislation that funded a third wave of stimulus checks, for generally $1,400 — but the push among some members of Congress for a bill authorizing a new stimulus check for millions of Americans continues to get stronger.
As a matter of fact, the possibility of more stimulus checks just got a bit of a boost thanks to a new letter sent to President Biden from some members of the House Ways and Means Committee which estimates that two more stimulus checks, a fourth and a fifth, could help prevent another 12 million people from slipping into poverty. The congressmen also write in their missive to the president that overall poverty in the US this year could plummet from 44 million people to 16 million when two new stimulus checks are combined with the $1.9 trillion legislation that Biden already signed.
Also potentially helping that estimate come to fruition are other benefits included in the American Rescue Plan, such as the increase in the federal child tax credit that will generate monthly payments for millions of families and which are set to start arriving in just over a month from now, on July 15. We should at this point, however, add a note of caution for anyone who lets themselves get a bit overly optimistic that another stimulus check is a distinct possibility, let alone two stimulus checks:
Believe it or not, data from the IRS shows that a massive amount of stimulus checks (1.24 million, to be exact) remain unspent from the very first coronavirus-related stimulus legislation from back in early 2020 — back when the Trump administration was still grappling with the early days of the Covid pandemic. That’s according to new reporting from the Boston Herald, and it adds that those unspent $1,200 checks amount to a collective $1.7 billion that the federal government essentially pushed out the door and … never got used.
In other words, there are unspent stimulus checks floating around out there that are collectively worth nearly as much as the entire $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation that Biden signed back in March.
Interestingly, the IRS data shows that the unspent stimulus checks aren’t simply sitting in bank accounts, collecting digital dust. The money was distributed to people “who either refused to accept (it), paid (it) back, or (never) cashed the stimulus checks they received from the IRS as a result of the CARES Act that was signed into law on March 27, 2020,” per the tax agency.
Also, in what should perhaps come as no surprise, two of the most populous states in the US have the most outstanding, unspent stimulus checks (these are, again, from the first wave of checks in early 2020 for generally $1,200). California and Florida, respectively, have the most unspent stimulus checks, totaling 123,265 and 92,018, respectively, per the Boston Herald’s reporting.