Second stimulus check news summary 22 December: amount, dates, eligibility, Trump...
Coronavirus and stimulus relief bill: summary 22 December
Trump threatens to veto $900 billion relief bill
On Sunday, Republicans and Democrats finally agreed on a coronavirus stimulus package, which was voted through both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Monday. Now we await it being signed into law by President Donald Trump.
Here are your headlines:
- President Trump hints he could veto bill (full details)
- $900 billion relief bill passes Congress (full details)
- Stimulus checks halved in value to $600, drawing heavy criticism from some commentators
- The House of Representatives passed the bill on Monday evening by 359-53
- The Senate passed the bill shortly before midnight Monday by 92-6
- Mnuchin: "People are going to see this money at the beginning of next week”
- Amount provided to dependents rises from $500 to $600 in this new package
- Trump signs stopgap funding to avert shutdown
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More reaction to the bill
Mr Willimon will be another hoping that Trump's refusal to sign the bill leads to the Democrats getting their way and having a higher payment agreed by Congress.
Trump gives Mitch the itch
Whether he meant it or not, the lame duck president has not only given Democrats the ammunition to push for greater stimulus check amounts, but also has put Senate leader McConnell in a potentially tricky position.
"There's been some friction with from the president of the United States and Sen. McConnell," Axios political reporter Hans Nichols explained.
"Clearly, that friction has increased. So, Republicans are in a jam. The whole entire -- what they do -- remember, this morning, the president signed a six-to-seven-day solution that just funds the government. It has implications for the Georgia senate race."
Here's how Raw Story see it...
Trump: the lame duck magician
With much of the media attention focused on the coronavirus relief bill, Donald Trump has also been busy on other matters. In a raft of 15 executive pardons - more are expected to come - the outgoing president magically sees criminals turned into free citizens.
The pardons of former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, former US congressmen Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins, and the four Blackwater guards involved in the Iraq massacre kick off what is expected to be a flurry of pardons and commutations in the coming weeks as Trump concludes his term.
Also included in the batch announced on Tuesday are Alex van der Zwaan, the Dutch lawyer who was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to lying to Mueller investigators; two Border Patrol agents convicted in 2006 of shooting and wounding an unarmed undocumented immigrant and then covering it up; and several people convicted of non-violent drug crimes serving lengthy sentences.
"Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks.
"At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!"
A hidden 'rich benefit' provision
The votes may have been cast, and the $900 billion bill may have passed through Congress, but now that more eyes are getting through the 5,593 pages of it, further questions are being raised. It's just as AOC said, these things need to be properly scrutinised.
This particular one, reported in the NYT, involves the tens of thousands of businesses that received loans from the federal government this spring with the promise that the loans would be forgiven, tax free, if they agreed to keep employees on the payroll through the coronavirus pandemic.
But for some businesses and their high-paid accountants, that was not enough. They went to Congress with another request: Not only should the forgiven loans not to be taxed as income, but the expenditures used with those loans should be tax deductible.
“High-income business owners have had tax benefits and unprecedented government grants showered down upon then. And the scale is massive,” said Adam Looney, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former Treasury Department tax official in the Obama administration, who estimated that $120 billion of the $200 billion would flow to the top 1 percent of Americans.
Did Dems miss a trick?
Young Turks executive producer Ana Kasparian points to Donald Trump's words from just a week ago, and asks if this could have been used as strong support for their desire to have a larger check agreed for Americans.
Trump doubt has markets wobbling
Stock futures wobbled and commodities fell on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump threw a last-minute spanner into pandemic relief plans, although Asian equities rose as traders looked through fears about an infectious new coronavirus strain.
In a video posted on Twitter, Trump said a stimulus bill, agreed after months of wrangling in Congress, was 'a disgrace' and that he wanted to increase 'ridiculously low' $600 checks for individuals to $2,000. The possibility of a delay to such long-awaited and hard-fought spending plans sent S&P 500 futures down as far as 1% below the index's Tuesday close, though they recovered to sit about 0.3% below the close.
FTSE futures fell 0.2% and EuroSTOXX 50 futures fell 0.1%, while oil futures dropped 1.5% to re-test lows from Monday when coronavirus worries drove a sharp selloff.
Here is that speech by Trump in case you missed it earlier in the blog:
Dominion employee sues Trump campaign for defamation
Some recent post-election developments could make the pushers of fake news think again.
A senior employee of Dominion Voting Systems has sued President Donald Trump's re-election campaign in a Colorado court for spreading false conspiracy theories related to November's presidential election that Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Eric Coomer, director of product strategy and security for the voting technology company, sued Trump's campaign and senior associates, including attorney Sidney Powell and the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, for defamation, according to a court document dated 22 December reported by Colorado Public Radio.
The filing with the state District Court in Denver said the defendants, including pro-Trump news outlets One America News Network and Newsmax Media, made baseless assertions that Coomer 'sits at the center of a national conspiracy to fraudulently elect the President of the United States.'
The lawsuit claims that Trump's campaign and its agents 'manufactured and spread a false narrative' that Dominion 'conspired to rig its equipment and the election in favor of President-Elect Biden', which led to 'devastating consequences', including death threats which forced Coomer to leave his home for fear of his safety.
'Defendants, by their actions, have elevated Dr. Coomer into the national spotlight, invaded his privacy, threatened his security, and fundamentally defamed his reputation across this country,' the document said. Trump, who has refused to concede his election defeat and continues to make baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, has routinely lost court cases that he and his supporters have filed around the country to try to overturn the election results.
Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment on the lawsuit. A call to Powell's law office in Texas was not answered after business hours. Reuters was unable to reach Giuliani for comment. Herring Networks Inc, the owner of One America News, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A call to Newsmax's office was not answered outside of business hours. Reuters and other news media have debunked various claims spread widely on social media after the 3 November election that Dominion was linked to election fraud. Biden is set to be inaugurated as president on 20 January.
What did Trump say about a $2000 payment and possible veto of stimulus bill?
Trump has put the fate of stimulus package in doubt calling it a "disgrace" telling Congress to “amend it” or it will be left to the next administration.
Read the full article:
Trump is leaving town for Christmas
After lobbing a hand grenade at Congress with the indirect threat of a vetoing the just-passed $900 covid-19 relief bill which is part of the $2.3 trillion bill that funds the government, it appears President Trump won't stay around to help in any negotiations he hopes will take place. He is heading to Mar-a-Lago according to his schedule for Wednesday. The government will run out of funding on Monday if the legislation isn't signed.
Pelosi calls Trump's bluff
President Trump took to Twitter to deliver a live video message slamming the just-passed spending package, saying that the covid-19 relief package was insufficient and has little to do with the coronavirus. In addition he called "ridiculous" the $600 amount for direct payments, instead calling on Congress to raise that amount to $2000 for each taxpayer.
Nancy Pelosi answered his call and says she is ready to bring his proposal to the floor of the House.
Prisoners will get student financial aid
As part of the criminal justice overhaul movement to undue decades of punitive practices in favor of finding avenues to reintegrate incarcerated people into society Pell grants for incarcerated students will be restored. The change was part of the $2.3 trillion omnibus spending/stimulus package passed Monday by Congress that Trump had said he would sign. However, Trump now threatens to veto the spending bill.
Federal financial aid to prison inmates was banned in the 1994 crime bill championed by then-Senator Joe Biden.
Good bye surprise medical bills
It’s estimated that about 1 in 5 emergency visits and 1 in 6 inpatient admissions trigger a surprise bill, when a patient is treated by a doctor or hospital that is outside the network of a patient’s health insurance plan. The charges that can run from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars. The practice is considered abusive billing by lawmakers of both parties but lobbying by doctors and insurers had frustrated any deal being reached.
A measure to protect consumers from this practice was included in the legislation passed Monday evening to fund the government and provide new stimulus to the US economy. Now the fees will be based on in-network charges that out-of-network services can bill and the insurance company will do the negotiating with the service provider, not the consumer .
Trump threatens not to sign stimulus package
President Trump has asked Congress to rework the $2.3 trillion bill passed on Monday which included a $900 billion covid-19 relief package. He wants Congress to cut out the pork barrel spending which he in his words "has almost nothing to do with" covid-19 relief and doesn't go to Americans. He also wants the stimulus checks to be $2000 instead of the $600 agreed to.
"Send me a suitable bill or the next administration will have to deliver a covid relief package. And maybe that administration will be me." Trump
Too little, too late
For some businesses Congress took too long to pass the latest round of pandemic relief aid. After nine months of haggling over a yawning gap in what both sides saw as necessary a $900 billion package was passed. Included in the package was more money for the Paycheck Protection Program providing loans to businesses to keep employees on the payroll.
“We really needed this second round and renewal of the program back in August to help many businesses to get through the last quarter of 2020,” said Karen Kerrigan, president of the advocacy group Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.
However it is not all bad news, the new aid is in some ways an improvement on the original rescue package for small businesses. The new bill lets small businesses take a tax deduction for expenses paid for with PPP money. Also those that saw their revenue drop by 25% in any quarter of 2020 from a year earlier can apply again.
Senator Schumer wants relief for restaurants
In his speech on the floor before the 11th hour vote on the $900 billion covid-19 relief aid package tied to funding for the government Senator Chuck Schumer said the bill didn’t do enough. Especially to help restaurants through the bipartisan Restaurants Act which would inject $120 billion into restaurant and bars. The industry as a whole has seen revenues down $130 billion compared to this time last year.
Biden wants a third stimulus check
Speaking from Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday, President-elect Joe Biden said that he will push for a third round of stimulus checks in the next Covid-19 relief bill. Biden again called the $900 billion relief package a “down payment” saying that funding would be needed for vaccine distribution, reopening schools, and to help firefighters, police and nurses. He declined to give specifics on how large a third direct payment to Americans would be, calling that a matter for negotiation.
Is stimulus bill a sign of Biden’s austerity?
David Sirota takes Biden to task for his part in delivering a stimulus package less than half what Democrats had been pushing for before the election. Biden put his support behind the smaller bipartisan bill formulated at the beginning of December which in turn “gave Democrats confidence to pull back on their demands.” Sirota warns progressives that the Biden administration is shaping up to be one of deficit hawks.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slams GOP addition to bill that funds border wall with Mexico
The provision for $1.4 billion towards the US-Mexico border wall is just one of many extra inclusions in the stimulus bill.
Generalised outrage online at stimulus deal leads to #VoteThemAllOut to trend
"Members of Congress got paid $130,000 to spend 9 months arguing about whether we deserve $600." Writes one Twitter user.
Others complain about various other laws hidden within the 5,000-page bill that lawmakers had a matter of hours to review before the vote.
The ugly part of the $900 billion stimulus bill
The new covid-19 stimulus package will be a great relief for tens of millions of Americans, but the process of getting to it exposed the need to overhaul our broken budget politics. Both parties have been at fault in creating a process that is chaotic, undemocratic and ultimately reckless, writes Jeffrey Sachs at CNN.
What's the difference between first and second stimulus check payment?
The second stimulus check will be similar to the first payment, although there are some important differences between it and the CARES Act.
Read the full story:
Joe Biden speaks for first time since stimulus deal agreed
As fresh coronavirus economic aid is confirmed to be on the way to Americans before Christmas, president-elect Joe Biden speaks about the crisis ahead of the holidays, saying that the "darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us."
GOP Senators who voted against $900bn bill explain why
After months of stalled negotiations, Congress finally passed a new $900 billion coronavirus relief package late Monday night with overwhelming support in the Senate, but six Republicans stood firmly against it.
Senators Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., all stood firmly against the bill, which had been bundled with a $1.4 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. Their criticisms largely focused on the size of the legislation, both in terms of the dollar amount and the bill's page count.
Via Fox News
Chuck Schumer: "I won't stop fighting" for more stimulus aid
The tweet was in response to a Twitter user's balanced message to Schumer which read;
"Thank you @senschumer for holding the line against corporate immunity and delivering some direct relief to New Yorkers, but we all know it’s not nearly enough. We’ll be looking to you to deliver a bill that will support real economic recovery under the Biden administration."
Democrat Nancy Pelosi tweets she's pleased about stimulus bill
To comments of outrage that $600 per family after 9 months of waiting is not enough support during the pandemic. House Speaker Pelosi also added that "more must be done" and referred to incoming administration leaders Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Key figures called for stimulus checks worth up to $2,000
The new coronavirus relief bill includes $600 in direct payments to Americans but many in Congress, and even in the White House, wanted more support to be included.
Read the full story:
Who said what on second stimulus check?
The new $900 stimulus bill includes a second stimulus check, but what have both parties’ members said publicly since its passing last night?
How long was the LONG hold up?
Since the spring Americans have been waiting for more desperately needed coronavirus economic relief. But many are saying the 11th-hour deal isn’t enough.
Second stimulus check passed in Congress: can Trump refuse it?
The newly-passed coronavirus stimulus package bill is on Donald Trump’s desk, waiting for him to sign it. Is there a chance he might decide to veto it?
How long did it take to pass the second stimulus bill after the CARES Act?
Since the spring Americans have been waiting for more desperately needed coronavirus economic relief. But many are saying the 11th-hour deal isn’t enough.
Congressional disputes, election disruption and the changing priorities of President Trump have slowed negotiations in recent months, but how long has it taken?
Sanders: "We needed a major, major response"
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has criticised the $600 stimulus checks that were included in the covid-19 stimulus bill that passed Congress yesterday. Sanders had been calling for payments of at least $1,200, the same that was provided in the CARES Act, but the proposal did not find enough support in the Senate.
Pennsylvania Governor calls for additional payments
Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has pledged to continue fighting for more coronavirus financial relief under the next administration, calling the $600 stimulus checks "a down payment".
Democrats in Congress are thought to be eager to expand the covid-19 support once Biden takes office on 20 January 2021, but that will be dependent on the result of the Georgia runoff elections. The races held on 5 January to decide the balance of power in Congress. If the Democrats win both remaining Senate seats then Biden will be able to pass a broader financial package in future.
Who voted against the covid-19 economic stimulus bill?
It has taken months of negotiations to get to this point but despite the bill passing both Houses, a number of lawmakers voted against the package. Some argued that the support offered was not enough, some argued that it was too great, and some simply didn't have enough time to read the 5,593-page document.
Stimulus bill provides $3bn for Hong Kong 'Democracy Fund'
More details are emerging about less publicised elements of the stimulus bill that passed Congress last night. The bill includes $3 billion for a 'Democracy Fund' for Hong Kong, which is believed to be related to those involved in the 2019-20 Hong Kong riots. The money will likely support groups and peoples who oppose the ruling Communist Party of China.
Lack of provisions leaves many unhappy with the bill
Despite the optimism around the stimulus checks the compromises that were made in the covid-19 financial relief bill have left many unimpressed. Author Don Winslow points to the lack of support for workers that has been included in the package, many of whom have become incredibly vulnerable because of the pandmeic.
Republican Senators vote against the bill
The covid-19 relief package comfortably passed the Senate with a 92-6 landslide, but there was push-back from Republican Senators. All six votes against came from GOP members.
Before the vote, Senator Rand Paul argued that the $900 billion relief bill too large and increased federal debt, tweeting: "I will oppose this new debt, and I will continue to sound the alarm until we change our course here in Congress."
Online piracy made a federal crime by the bipartisan relief bill
As Congress scrambled to get its legislative business concluded before the end of the year, a variety of bills and laws was bound together to form the package that it voted on last night. As well as the covid-19 economic relief bill the 12 federal government funding bills were also included, along with some lesser-known additions.
Buried in the 5,593-page document, which lawmakers were first shown just hours before the vote, is a new law that criminalises online piracy. Former Libertarian Party VP candidate Spike Cohen points out that illegally stremaing a movie could now be "punishable by jail time, fines, losing your right to vote or own a firearm".
How will the new stimulus checks be distributed?
Although it appears that the legislative process is nearing completion, the government still has an enormous task on its hands to get the support into the hands of Americans as quickly as possible. With over 160 million expected to receive stimulus checks, how will they be sent?
The vast majority will be distributed using three methods, with different times of arrival expected:
1. First to arrive will be the direct debits, which are used for anyone whose details are on file with the IRS or who are recipients of Social Security benefits. The electronic transfers used are the quickest way to get the money.
2. Those who are unable to submit their banking information will get the support through the post in the form of a physical stimulus check. This will take slightly longer because the checks need to be produced, checked, sorted and delivered.
3. For Americans without bank accounts, around four million people were sent VISA debit cards with their first stimulus checks pre-loaded onto them.
Mnuchin: Stimulus checks will begin to arrive from next week
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has told CNBC that he expects the first stimulus check payments to be sent out from the beginning of next week, meaning that Americans will start receiving the support before the end of the year.
It has been nearly nine months since the first round of payments began and millions are in desperate need of further assistance. The $600 will arrive soon but there has not yet been any official confirmation on an expected start date for other provisions in the bill, such as the extended unemployment benefits.
Congresswoman Gabbard explains why she voted against
The covid-19 economic stimulus bill hase now passed both Houses of Congress, but the voting was not unanimous. House of Representatives voted 359-53, while the Senate voted 92-6 late last night.
Several representatives were unhappy with the amount offered in direct support to Americans and the rushed nature of the vote. Gabbard explains that she was only given a copy of the 5,593-page document hours before being expected to vote on it.
Lame duck presidential focus
In case you were wondering, while Congress was debating and passing the new relief package, the man in the Oval Office has been continuing his desperate flood of tweets and retweets focusing on election fraud.
It's not as though President Trump has a crucial role to play in turning the bill into law. What? Oh!
US stimulus trumps virus concerns: European shares rebound
European shares rose on Tuesday as the approval of a US stimulus package helped allay worries of a further dent to the global economy from a new coronavirus strain in the UK.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1%, recovering from a more than 2% slide in the previous session, which was also its biggest one-day drop in nearly two months. This came as we await Donald Trump's signature.
Strict lockdowns went into effect in Britain on Monday to curb the spread of the new coronavirus strain said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, triggering border bans and travel restrictions from several countries. The BBC reported that Britain and France would announce a deal to restart freight by Wednesday.
Not the end-all, be-all of relief
"I spent weeks working with a bipartisan group of colleagues from both chambers... [It] is not the end-all, be-all of covid-19 relief, but will provide (...) much much-needed support to help them get through this difficult time."
US Senator Lisa Murkowski put out her own statement following the bill passing through the two chambers.
'This is a heist'
New York Times best-selling author, Candace Owens is jumping in full agreement with AOC regarding the new bill calling it a 'heist' and saying that 'wealthy people are stealing tax dollars under the guise of covid-19 relief.'
The repeated message from Ocasio-Cortez has been that there just wasn't enough time for this bill to be discussed and assessed properly.
Inside the Capitol
Watch scenes from inside the Capitol Building and listen to remarks from the like of Nancy Pelosi, Kevin Brady and Ron Johnson as the bill passes.
Dysfunctional: Trump and Congress in 2020
A giant fiscal jolt for the US economy finally won approval in Washington Monday, but the half-year of political dysfunction that preceded the deal showcased a near-breakdown in American politics that President-elect Joe Biden will now be challenged to address.
In a year marked by President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and the government’s inability to suppress the deadly pandemic, the bitter Republican-Democratic fight over another Covid-19 relief package served as the final 2020 example of national interest being held hostage to political maneuvering.
Mike Dorning and Steven T. Dennis look at how politics failed the American people when they most needed help.
The bill passes
...but not everyone voted for it.
Republican Paul Gosar explains why he was against the relief package being signed into law.
Step 2 done: Senate passes $900 billion stimulus package
The Senate approved the bill by a 91-7 vote.
The legislation will now head over to the White House for the President's signature to make it law. Trump has said that he will sign the bill giving $600 stimulus checks to eligible Americans.
The bill also includes extended $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits as well as other measures to help struggling Americans.
Step 1 done: House approves $2.3 trillion bill
The omnibus spending bill cleared the first hurdle passing in the House of Representatives in two separate votes 327-85 and 359-53.
The bill finances the government through September 2021 and provides a new round of pandemic relief aid, including a $600 direct payment.
The bills must now pass the Senate before it can go to President Trump to be made law.
Are children born in 2020 and 2021 eligible for the second stimulus check?
The new covid-19 economic relief bill includes a $600 direct payment per child but some parents may not receive their entitled benefits automatically.
Read more to find out how to get the payment:
Copyrights and Hollywood tax deductions in omnibus bill
The behemoth of a bill that Congress needs to pass to keep the government running and get Americans pandemic relief has some other measures tucked into it.
Among those are laws related to copyright protections including one that would make illegal streaming for commercial profit a felony.
Hollywood would get an extension of a tax deduction for television and film production costs up to $15 million.
When will the stimulus checks arrive?
With the President expected to sign the new coronavirus relief bill in the coming days, perhaps even hours, there is the chance that some of the early payments to Americans could be received before the end of the year.
Direct debit payments were the first to be sent during the first wave of stimulus checks and Rep. Kevin Brady believes that will be the same again this time.
Want to know more about when to expect your stimulus check? Our handy guide breaks down the five stimulus check payment groups.
Coronavirus stimulus/federal funding package split into two votes
With time of the essence, a number of different bills have been wrapped together in a far-reaching package.
As well as the $900bn covid relief bill there are also 12 vital federal spending bills and dozens of other pieces of legislation that need to be passed before Congress breaks for Christmas.
Once approved, the two bills are then reunited and presented to the Senate as one.
Full detail of the coronavirus stimulus bill
Anyone wanting to really dig into the detail can now access the whole stimulus bill online, all 5,593 pages of it!
These types of bills are usually pretty lengthly but this one is an absolute monster. If you're wondering why, this package is what's known as an omnibus. This means that it contains all 12 federal spending bills, the $900bn covid relief package, and dozens of other bills that need to be passed before Congress breaks for the final time this year.
I got the CARES Act check. Will I get this one?
Congress has passed another round of coronavirus relief aid including a second round of stimulus checks that will go to most American families.
AOC unhappy with rushed vote on bipartisan relief bill
After so many months of ineffectual negotiations things went down to the wire to get the bill passed before Christmas. With voting set for Monday, lawmakers were not able to read all 5,593 pages, as they usually would.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez called this "not good enough":
"It’s not good enough to hear about what’s in the bill. Members of Congress need to see & read the bills we are expected to vote on. I know it’s “controversial” & I get in trouble for sharing things like this, but the people of this country deserve to know. They deserve better."
Pelosi: "Stimulus checks will be going out soon"
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has confirmed that the direct payment will be on their way to Americans soon but admitted that she would have favoured a larger amount. The CARES Act provided $1,200 to each individual but the new package only ensures half of that amount.
After those technical difficulties, the completed stimulus bill was successfully codified and printed off. Then came the Congressional sessions to vote on the package but the agreement is already in place.
Also, there wasn't much chance of lawmakers reading the whole thing through before it went to the floor. Coming in at a whopping 5,593 pages, they would have to have read 560 pages an hour to finish it before midnight. Enough was known though.
Technical issues slowed things down
After waiting months for more help, Americans were hoping that this process could be brought to a swift finale but computer difficulties were causing problems in Congress.
Reporter Jake Sherman of MSNBC and NBC revealed that the bill couldn't initially be uploaded due a "corrupt file" in part of the bill.
Coronavirus relief bill: daily blog
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of all things related to the latest bill being passed to help the US economy, individuals and businesses.
While keeping you across all the news and reaction to the relief package, we'll also have a keen eye on everything else linked to the current pandemic and political developments throughout the day.