Fourth Stimulus Check Update: $2,000 Monthly Payment Petition Hits Congress 'Ghosting' Families

Stephanie Bonin, the creator of a petition for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks, is urging Congress to not "ghost" American families and put in the work to make Child Tax Credit payments permanent.

Even though they're not universal payments for all eligible adults, Bonin sees the monthly Child Tax Credit payments as a victory because the money is going directly into millions of Americans' pockets each month. President Joe Biden supports making the monthly payments to parents permanent, but without action from Congress, payments end in December.

"This Halloween let's spread the word that the scariest thing is Congress ghosting America by taking away the checks being sent directly to our families, the expanded Child Care Tax Credits," Bonin wrote in a Sunday update on the petition.

The American Rescue Plan, passed in March, increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 for children between the ages of 6 and 17. It also changed how parents received their credit. Instead of a lump sum after a person files their tax return, parents could receive half their expected credit in monthly payments from July to December.

stimulus check update child tax credit ghosting
Stephanie Bonin, the creator of a petition for $2,000 monthly stimulus checks, is pushing Congress to make Child Tax Credit permanents and not "ghost" American families. President Joe Biden speaks about how his Build Back Better agenda will lower prescription drug prices, in the White House in Washington, D.C., on August 12. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Child Tax Credit coincided with a drop in food insufficiency in households with children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and helped lift 3 million children out of poverty. About a third of households used the Child Tax Credit payments on school-related expenses and 11 percent used it for childcare, according to a Census Bureau survey from late September.

Members of Congress have used the data on the impact of the Child Tax Credit to push for a continuation of the payments, but congressional battles have stalled efforts to make payments permanent. However, that could change this week.

Biden's hoping a vote on his Build Back Better plan, a $1.75 trillion social spending bill, will happen this week. If passed in Congress, it would temporarily extend the current Child Tax Credit payments through 2022. However, it's unclear if Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will get on board with the package and without them, it's likely doomed to fail in the Senate.

Passing the package is a signature piece of Biden's presidency, although the White House's ultimate goal is to make the Child Tax Credit monthly payments permanent.

Ahead of the potential vote, Bonin encouraged signatories of her petition to use Twitter to voice their support for the continuation of the monthly payments.

Bonin's petition originally called for $2,000 monthly payments for adults and $1,000 payments for children to help Americans shoulder the financial burden of the pandemic. By summer she had shifted her focus to the Child Tax Credit because there was a greater likelihood of those payments becoming permanent than another stimulus check going out.

"Yes, it's not a monthly stimulus check with those words, but it's a monthly check to almost 90 percent of families with kids," Bonin told Newsweek. "The petition was asking for money we can count on.… So I see [the Child Tax Credit] as part of the success."

Despite Congress' reluctance to send out a fourth stimulus check, Bonin's petition continues to gather signatures and is only about 60,000 signatures away from its 3 million signature goal. If it hits its goal, it'll become one of the most signed petitions on the website.