Biden touts stimulus checks in first address to Congress as pressure mounts to send out fourth relief payment

PRESIDENT Joe Biden touted the stimulus checks sent out to millions of Americans during his address of Congress last night as pressure mounts to action a fourth round of payment.

While Biden unveiled details of his $2 trillion America Jobs Plan in a speech marking his first 100 days in office, Google searches for "fourth stimulus" checks skyrocketed.

Searches for "Biden fourth stimulus" and "Biden fourth stimulus check" increased 250 percent as Biden delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, Newsweek reported.

"We kept our commitment, Democrats and Republicans, of sending $1,400 rescue checks to 85 percent of American households," Biden said during his address.

"We've already sent more than 160 million checks out the door. It's making a difference. You all know it when you go home. For many people, it's making all the difference in the world."

Biden said he received a letter from a mother in Texas who told him she couldn't work.

"She said the relief check put food on the table and saved her and her son from eviction from their apartment," he claimed.

"A grandmother in Virginia who told me she immediately took her granddaughter to the eye doctor, something she said she put off for months because she didn't have the money."

The president didn't speak of any plans to provide a fourth round of stimulus payments, but support is growing among Democrats for additional checks.

In total, 74 congressional lawmakers have pushed for recurring checks to be sent out to Americans until the end of the pandemic.

"One more check is not enough," the group wrote in a January letter.

"Another one-time round of checks would provide a temporary timeline, but when that money runs out, families will once again struggle to pay for basic necessities."

Among the supporters for additional Covid relief are Democratic firebrand Rep. Ilhan Omar and former presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

"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," they wrote in a March letter. "Families shouldn't have to worry about whether they'll have enough money to pay for essentials in the months ahead."

Biden has not yet publicly addressed the letters or made public remarks about a fourth round of payments.

However, a January survey conducted by Data for Progress found that 65 percent of Americans support recurring monthly payments of $2,000 until the pandemic's end.

Should Biden be in support of such a motion, the proposal would likely be rebuffed by Republicans in both the House and Senate.

The last round of stimulus relief, a key component of Biden's America Rescue Plan, was passed without any support from the GOP.

Any potential payments would also face a legislative hurdle as reconciliation – the budget process Democrats used to pass the last stimulus package – cannot be used again until October 1, when the fiscal year resets.

Biden would also likely use that process to push through other priorities of the his administration when it becomes available again.

According to the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute & Brookings, a fourth round of stimulus checks would lift more than seven million Americans above the poverty line.

Elsewhere in his speech, Biden took a thinly veiled dig at Trump, saying he took on a "nation in crisis".

The President – who did not mention Trump directly in his speech – drew criticism for saying the January 6 riots were the "worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War".

In a swipe at his predecessor, he told lawmakers: "We have stared into the abyss of insurrection and autocracy."

"One hundred days since I took the oath of office—lifted my hand off our family Bible—and inherited a nation in crisis," he said.

"The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”

"One hundred days ago, America's house was on fire. We had to act."

But the President's description of the Capitol riots prompted a backlash across social media.

Some Twitter users were quick to point out other historical events – from 9/11 to Pearl Harbor – that they felt were much more severe attacks on U.S. democracy.

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