As Congress prepares another injection of COVID-19 aid for businesses and individuals, there’s been debate about whether it’s necessary on top of the US$3.5 trillion spent so far.
President Joe Biden had initially hoped to get bipartisan support for his $1.9 trillion proposal, but the only counteroffer from Republicans was a $600 billion bill, with many in the GOP suggesting more money wasn’t needed. And some economists have expressed concern that giving Americans too much right now could overheat the economy.
We are public opinion scholars at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In cooperation with our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Public Radio, we conducted a survey in July and August of last year to try to understand how the first round of aid had affected American families in need. What we found shocked us then and feels relevant now as the government negotiates its next steps.