A petition for monthly stimulus checks recently passed another milestone when it broke the 2.5 million signature threshold, putting it closer to becoming one of the most signed petitions on the website.
The petition calls for $2,000 monthly payments for adults and $1,000 monthly payments for children through the end of the health crisis. It’s garnered a steady stream of supporters over the past year, but recently, it’s seen an uptick in signatories.
In just a little over a week, the petition gained 100,000 signatures, going from 2.4 million to 2.5 million. It previously took about three weeks for the petition to go from 2.3 million to 2.4 million signatures.
If the current rate continues, the petition could reach its goal of 3 million signatures in about seven weeks. Stephanie Bonin, the petition’s creator, told Newsweek she’s confident the petition will reach its goal, in part because the pandemic gave people a perspective they may not have had prior to the country shutting down.
“People like me who have never had to go onto an assistance program are living an experience we’ve never lived and I think it’s a unifying thing. When people unify we can move mountains,” Bonin said.
Bonin created the petition last year after her restaurant in Denver had to shut down to help slow the spread of the virus. At the time of the closure, she called it a “blur” and losing their source of income to help keep others safe made for a “catastrophic” time for her and her family.
While she supported the relief Congress passed, she didn’t see it as going far enough, in part because it wasn’t consistent.
Bonin thinks it would have been easier for people to weather the storm of the pandemic if they knew there would be consistent payments, even if they were for an amount smaller than what her petition asks for.
“I keep going back to how we run households and how we budget and every day we make decisions based on our money and that’s always based on a finite amount of money whatever it is,” Bonin said.
Monthly stimulus checks have an ally in the White House, as Vice President Kamala Harris sponsored a bill last year for a similar relief measure when she was still a senator. Bonin had the opportunity to present the signatures to her and remembers Harris being impressed with the number of supporters.
The White House hasn’t publicly backed monthly stimulus checks and stopped short of supporting another round of payments. When asked about additional direct payments, press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would consider a plan from Congress but noted the measure costs money, signaling that it’s not a priority for the administration.
That is a little disappointing for Bonin, as she was excited to have a champion like Harris in the White House, but she sees the administration sending out the Child Tax Credit as monthly payments as a victory. Beginning in July, eligible parents will receive monthly payments as an advance on the credit they’re estimated to be owed after they file their 2021 taxes. Those payments will continue through December, with the second half of what is owed being paid next year.
Given that the White House has signaled support for making the expansion permanent, Bonin was surprised there wasn’t more focus on the Child Tax Credit. While she sees that as the more realistic of the two proposals, she sees her petition reaching the 3 million signature threshold because there’s still a high level of uncertainty and that’s the most common reason people give for signing.