Despite claims in YouTube videos of the passing of a fourth stimulus check, Congress has taken no such action.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed three bills that include direct payments to millions of Americans — commonly known as stimulus checks. The three payments totaled more than $3,000 for eligible Americans. The most recent of those payments was made in March 2021.
Viewer Sally texted the VERIFY team asking if a fourth stimulus check has been approved. She shared links to multiple YouTube videos making the claim, including this one posted on Nov. 1 from a channel with over 400,000 subscribers that reads “Big 4th Stimulus CHECKS PASSED.” Data from Google Trends also shows that the past week has seen an increase in the number of people searching for “4th stimulus check passed today.”
Was a fourth stimulus check passed?
No, a fourth stimulus check was not passed.
WHAT WE FOUND
An IRS spokesperson told VERIFY that a fourth stimulus check failed. The IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department have information on their websites about how people can receive the three previous incentive payments, if they haven’t already, and make no mention of a fourth payment.
The previous three stimulus checks were part of legislation passed by Congress and signed by the incumbent president. The first check, for $1,200, was part of the CARES Act passed in March 2020. The second check, for $600, was part of a spending package that was approved in December 2020. The third check, for $1,400, was included in the US Rescue Plan passed in March 2021.
A list of laws passed by the current Congress will be posted online. An evaluation of those laws shows that there is no additional legislation covering incentive payments.
In March 2021, a group of Senate Democrats pushed for the inclusion of recurring incentive payments in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. But recurring payments are not part of the Build Back Better plan framework that the Biden administration released on Oct. 28.
When asked about the possibility of a fourth stimulus check in June 2021, White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplayed the idea.
“[President Biden is] happy to hear from a range of ideas about what would be most effective and what matters most to the economy going forward,” said Psaki. “But he has also suggested what he believes will be most effective in the short term, to get people back to work, to get through this critical period and also to make us more competitive in the long run.”
Psaki was again asked about a fourth stimulus check in July 2021. Her response focused on the support measures in the US Rescue Plan rather than another round of payments.
Some states, such as California, have sent direct payments to certain residents in addition to federal incentives. But a fourth federal stimulus check failed.
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