Second stimulus check: news summary for 2 January

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Second stimulus check: headlines

- Calls for greater economic support as US hits 20 million covid-19 cases

- Attorney Lin Wood suggests Mike Pence 'should be arrested for treason'

- Mitch McConnell objects to a Senate vote on the $2,000 stimulus checks for the third day running Thursday, after admitting bill has "no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate"

Pelosi and Gingrich press McConnell to allow vote on 'clean' bill for $2,000 stimulus checks

- Trump extends freeze on skilled worker visas.

 - Georgia Senator Perdue in isolation ahead of 5 January run-off. 

- Second round of $600 stimulus payments are being sent out 

- Senate to vote on overriding Trump defense bill veto as President lashes out at "pathetic" Republican leaders.

- Georgia Senate run-off "too close to call" say pollsters, with control of upper house to be decided on 5 January.

- McConnell ties a new bill with $2,000 stimulus checks to a repeal of the social media-related Section 230 and finance for election fraud investigation

- President Trump urges Republican senators to "get tough" and approve the $2,000 stimulus checks after McConnell blocks Senate vote

Related stories: 

GOP suit requesting that VP Pence overturn election rejected in court

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Saturday rejected a Republican congressman’s bid to allow Vice President Mike Pence to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 election victory in favor of President Donald Trump.

In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s decision on Friday to toss U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit, which had argued that Pence had the power to invalidate Biden’s win when Congress meets to certify the results on Wednesday.

Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede to Biden, claiming without evidence that his victory was due to widespread fraud. Dozens of election officials and judges around the country have dismissed Trump’s allegations.

Trump piles pressure on McConnell over $2,000 stimulus check

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to block a vote in the upper house on the bill that would increase stimulus checks to a maximum $2,000, president Donald Trump continues to publicly oppose McConnell and call for the increase to be made.

Larry King hospitalized over coronavirus

The 87-year-old talk show host also has preexisting health conditions, according to HuffPost.

Talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized in Los Angeles for more than a week with coronavirus symptoms, according to multiple reports.

King, 87, is being treated in a region where health care resources have been stretched to the breaking point as patients with severe covid-19 have filled intensive care units and spilled into hallways across Southern California. His family has not been allowed to visit him because of safety regulations.

How to donate your stimulus check to those in need

If you're lucky enough to be financially secure, and know your $600 stimulus check is surplus to requirements, here's how you can make a difference via CNBC.

Ted Cruz and 10 other GOP Senators to attempt to block election certification

A growing number of Republican senators — led by Ted Cruz — announced today they also will object to certifying state Electoral College votes on Wednesday and called for resurrecting an Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency audit of the results.

Republicans involved include Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).

Via Axios

Can I receive second stimulus check while I wait for the first?

The IRS has confirmed that the $600 stimulus checks are already being made but some are yet to receive the first round of payments. Make sure you don't miss out on the cash.

What amount will your stimulus check be this time?

Second stimulus checks are already being sent out, at a maximum of $600 per adult. Is there still a chance it could be nearly four times that amount?

Proud Boys plan to mimic Antifa for protests in DC 6 Jan

Members of the far-right group the Proud Boys will attend Washington, D.C., rallies for President Trump on Jan. 6 "incognito," with leaders of the group saying they will dress in "all BLACK" to mimic the attire of anti-fascist groups and counterprotesters.

The group is known for its signature black and yellow clothing during rallies and protests, where they typically appear in large groups. The group's chairman, Enrique Tarrio, announced on social media that group members "might dress in all BLACK for the occasion."

Additionally, members of the group will likely branch off into smaller formations to remain "incognito."

Thousands of people are expected to gather in the District on Wednesday for at least four planned pro-Trump rallies protesting the certification of President-elect Joe Biden. Protests will be underway as Congress convenes to count the electoral votes approved by the House in December.

Both the president and his supporters have repeated unsubstantiated claims of mass voter fraud resulting in Biden unfairly winning the 2020 election, a claim former Attorney General William Barr and several intelligence agencies denied had any effect on the election's outcome, and in over 60 court cases all over the US Trump's lawyers have lost consistently due to lack of evidence. 

Some donate stimulus checks to support struggling businesses

A GoFundMe page set up by chef Andrew Gruel has surpassed $200,000, closing in on its target of half a milllion dollars. Some have even donated their entire $600 stimulus check payment to the cause to help the restuarant business through a time of lockdowns and economic hardship. 

The GoFundMe page reads: "Restaurants in the U.S. are in an "economic free fall" amid the ongoing spike in coronavirus cases and the forced shutdowns, with 10,000 establishments around the country having closed temporarily or permanently since the start of September alone."

Bitcoin investors track value of stmulus check investment

Although for the majority of Americans the stimulus checks were vital financial support, some are lucky enough to have been able to invest that payment. As was the case with the first round of payments, online cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a surge in value as many choose to invest. 

As it stands, a $600 investment would have risen by nearly $75 since the checks were finally agreed in late December. 

"It is a strong, strong shot in the arm to get things going"

After months of bipartisan negotiations in Congress a second covid-19 economic relief package has finally been passed. Here's what you need to know about what's inside, including the long-awaited second round of stimulus checks...

McConnell's house vandalised after stimulus check refusal

A vacant home belonging to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been spray-painted after the GOP lawmaker blocked a Senate vote on $2,000 stimulus checks for a fourth consecutive day. 

WDRB reporter Grace Hayba shared these pictures of the incident which came just one day after McConnell's opposite number, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, had her home vandalised with a pig's head, fake blood and other graffiti.

GOP Senators to object to Electoral College votes

The formality of counting Electoral College votes when the Senate returns next week could be a more fractious event than usual, as a number of Republican Senators confirm that they will object to certifying state Electoral College votes on Wednesday and have called for the Electoral Commission to conduct an emergency audit of the results.

Such an audit would threaten chances of a peaceful transition of power and the EC vote comes just two days after the Senate run-off race in Georgia that will decide the balance of power in the Upper House. If the Democrats win both seats, they will flip the Senate. 

Republican leaders blamed for stimulus check stalemate

After months of discussions the blame for securing just $600 of direct support for each American is being aimed at the GOP, according to the latest figures from Data for Progress. The data science experts conducted a survey of 1166 likely voters nationally and found that the Republican party leadership was held as responsible. 

In recent days President Trump has called for $2,000 checks to be distributed, despite having previously ordered his negotiator to step away from talks. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly blocked attempts to have a stand-alone $2,000 stimulus check bill voted on in the Upper House. 

Call for blood donations in CA amid surge in cases

The California Department of Public Health says there is an "urgent need" for people to donate blood amid surging coronavirus case numbers in the state. California registered just under 38,000 infections and a record 585 deaths from covid-19 on New Year's Day.

Chuck Schumer: "Democrats will not stop fighting"

Chuck Schumer spent New Year's morning promising he and his party would fight as hard as possible for $2,000 checks. Then moments later, Schumer and most Senate Democrats surrendered live on C-Span for everyone to see. They obediently voted for McConnell’s motion to move forward the defense bill for final passage, so that the Senate can close down without any vote on the $2,000 checks. Most Democrats then voted for final passage as well.

Virginia state senator dies aged 60 after contracting covid-19

Virginia state Sen. Ben Chafin Jr. has died after contracting covid-19, according to a statement from his office. He was 60 years old.

"State Senator Augustus Benton (Ben) Chafin, Jr., a native son of Russell County located in Southwest Virginia, passed away on January 1, 2021 from Covid-19 complications," the statement said.

The Republican lawmaker's family thanked the VCU Medical Center in Richmond for "its vigorous care and heartfelt support during his two weeks of medical services there."

Chafin, a cattle farmer and attorney, served Virginia's 38th District. He was elected to the state's House of Delegates in 2013 before moving to the Senate in 2014.

His office remembered him Friday as "a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, economic development and health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians."

Chafin is survived by his mother, sister, wife, three children and grandchildren.

Three million early votes cast in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff races

Reuters - A record 3 million early votes have been cast in the two Georgia runoff elections that next week will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate, according to a final tally released on Friday.

The turnout figures, compiled by the University of Florida’s U.S. Elections Project, indicate strong voter interest in Tuesday’s elections that pit incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

The runoff elections are necessary because no candidate won more than 50% of the vote in the November 3 election.

Early voting ended on Thursday. Georgia releases information about the number of people who voted but does not tally their votes until Election Day.

Perdue is quarantining in the race’s final days after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

What's next for $2,000 checks legislation?

Democrats vowed to swiftly revive the $2,000 checks after the new Congress is sworn in Sunday. “President-elect Joe Biden has made clear that the pandemic relief bill that Congress passed is simply a down payment on the work that needs to continue,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the chair of the House Democratic caucus. “We’re going to continue to fight for a $2,000 direct payment check.”


Trump could take election results case to Supreme Court

Donald Trump posted a series of videos on his Twitter account, one featured a stand-up by One America News Network political reporter Christina Bobb. She suggested that Trump could go to the Supreme Court to see the results of three states during the November elections overturned. "President Trump needs three states to invalidate the Democrat electors or select the Republican electors. Another option is the Supreme Court. Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin and possibly Georgia have cases at the Supreme Court that could combine".

"Republican leadership has turned its back on working families"

Sen. Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to issue a statement outlining his stance on the relief bill. "Over the past four days, I have asked—time and again—for a vote on $2,000 payments for working class adults and their kids. This legislation that Trump supports, Biden supports and over two-thirds of the House (including 44 Republicans), and a recent poll shows that 78% of the American public support the approach. At a time when so many Americans are facing economic desperation, it is tragic that the Republican leadership has turned its back on the working families of this country".

Could I get second stimulus check and unemployment benefits at the same time?

Unemployment benefits have been extended and the arrival of a second economic stimulus check was confirmed, but can you receive both at the same time?

Read more:

US Covid-19 cases hit 20 million

The coronavirus pandemic in the US hit yet another grim milestone on New Year's Day, with 20 million confirmed cases and deaths continuing to rise. As of this morning, the figure stands at 20,135,308 - almost a quarter of the global, world total while the fatalities figure rose to 347,865, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.


US judge throws out lawsuit filed against Mike Pence

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and several Arizona Republicans that challenges President-elect Joe Biden's victory with Congress due to meet on Wednesday to certify his victory over president Donald Trump. Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas said on Friday that Gohmert and the others do not have any standing to sue. Pence told the judge that he was the wrong person to sue. The Republicans' issue isn't with the vice president, he said, but with Congress.

Hello & welcome: relief bill and second stimulus check updates

Hello and welcome to our live blog on the second day of 2021, where we will be bringing you the latest developments on the $900bn coronavirus relief bill, which President Donald Trump signed into law last Sunday.

The package included a provision for $600 stimulus checks but House Democrats, with the support of Trump and President-elect Joe Biden, passed a separate bill to raise that amount to $2,000 per individual as the covid-19 crisis continues to hit workers and small businesses in the pocket. 

However, Senate Republicans led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have blocked a vote in the upper chamber with McConnell describing the likelihood of it passing as "unrealistic." Senior Republicans have pointed to the strain on federal coffers while McConnell has tied any vote on the checks to the issues of the repeal of Section 230 and the convening of a committee to investigate election fraud.