Stimulus check: news summary for 10 January

Headlines

- Pelosi issues letter announcing a House vote on use of 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

- Trump to appear in Texas on Tuesday to mark the completion of Mexico border wall.

- Pence has not ruled out using 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office.

- IRS announce that 80% of direct deposit stimulus payments have already been made. 

- Donald Trump permanently banned from Twitter for using language like to incite violence. 

- Survey reveals Americans are split on who to blame for the failure to pass the bill on $2k stimulus checks.

- Trump to sue over leaked call (full story)

- Amazon, Google and Apple drop Parler from their app stores.

- US covid-19 death toll now over 372,000.

Related stories: 

Pelosi addresses stimulus payments in Congress speech

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been reflecting on a shocking week in the Capitol that saw the Houses of Congress stormed by pro-Trump rioters in an attempt to undermine the democratic process. Amongst the chaos and tragedy, there has been little attention paid to the stimulus check payments which are scheduled to be completed by 15 January. 

The vast majority of direct deposit payments have already been made, although some need to be resent after millions were erroneously sent to unused bank accounts. It remains to be seen if the IRS will hit its mid-January arget or if it will spill into the Biden administration. 

President's niece calls for tougher punishment for Trump

Mary Trump, President Donald Trump's niece, has called on Congress to do more to sanction him for his involvement in the riots in the Capitol last week. Mary Trump first came to prominence with the release of her 2020 book 'Too Much and Never Enough' about her family, which sold nearly one million copies on the first day of its release.

She hits out at the President and other lawmakers who continue to support him despite playing a major role in the protests that ended with five people dead on Wednesday. Congress is running out of time to impeach Trump before he leaves office on 20 January, but the article of impeachment circulating the House currently has over 200 cosponsors.

Millions of stimulus checks mistakenly sent to temporary accounts

After months of negotiations the second wave of stimulus checks began distribution in the final days of 2020, with the IRS aiming to have made a payment to each eligible American by 15 January 2021.

As with the first round of payments, over 150 million people are believed to be eligible for the support but with government departments scrambling to get the money out as quickly as possible, there are bound to be some oversights.

Research shows that nearly a third of stimulus check spending goes on servicing debt

According to a study cited in progressive new source The Nation, 30% of the federal money distributed as stimulus checks has been used to pay off interest accrued on loans and other forms of debt. In response to this new some have suggested that the governemnt should instead use the money to decrease or even cancel debt in the form of student loans, medical debt, mortgage payments, rent, and municipal debt 

“Congress should cancel rents and mortgages, cancel all rental debt, erase Covid evictions from people’s records, and pass a full eviction moratorium that bans filings, hearings, and all evictions,” said Tara Raghuveer, director of the Homes Guarantee campaign. “If relief is provided to landlords and others in the industry, it must come with strict conditions like rent control and restrictions on future evictions.”

Biden reaffirms commitment to $2,000 stimulus checks

The second round of stimulus checks payment is due to be completed by 15 January but many are unhappy with the amount offered. However after receiving just $600 in the most recent round of payments, Americans may have more luck in future as President-elect Joe Biden calls for $2,000 checks to be offered

Biden's first 100 days in office will focus on dealing with the pandemic and he is likely to attempt pass another large-scale stimulus package to kick-start the economy. Previously the Democrats had been unable to pass such a bill through the GOP-held Senate but now that they have unified power in Washington they stand a much better chance of enacting Biden's priorities. 

Pelosi announces House vote on Trump removal

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has published a letter confirming that the House of Representatives will hold a vote next week, which may call for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendement. The vote would not be legally binding, but it would heap the pressure on Pence to act if the House votes in favour. 

The 25th Amendment is a constitutional device that allows for the Vice President to take over if the President is unable to carry out his duties. In the past it has been used on a short-term basis to delegate power when the President is undergoing medical treatment, but lawmakers have suggested that Trump's erratic behaviour makes him unfit to govern. 

How much could a third round of stimulus checks be worth?

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to get qualifying Americans a third coronavirus Economic Impact Payment as part of further economic relief. With the balance of power in Congress firmly with the Democrats, there is hope that a more substantial relief package can be passed. 

Parler removed from app stores and hosting sites

Following President Donald Trump's suspension from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, many were predicting that he would soon make the move to self-styled "free speech" alternative Parler. The fledgling app has drawn users who support Trump, who take advantage of the non-existent content moderation. 

However the likes of Google and Apple have announced that Parler has been removed from their app store for failing to tackle posts that incite violence. Amazon too have taken a stand, revoking their web hosting services for the Parler website. 

Biden and Sanders in agreement about need for additional financial support

The two men stood against each other in the Democratic primaries last year but they have found common ground on the matter of government spending. Sanders, speaking to MSNBC in this clip, calls for more money to go to individuals and families struggling to deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic. 

Both Sanders and President-elect Joe Biden have voiced support for an additional 'top-up' bill that would see the size of the second round of stimulus checks upped to $2,000, with an extra $1,400 payment. As Sanders points out, the US government has recently authorised $740 billion of annual military spending

Mnuchin

Pompeo, Mnuchin among those who discussed possibility of 25th amendment - CNBC

​​​​​​US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among the Cabinet secretaries who discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump, CNBC report.

DT

Democrats push toward second Trump impeachment, Republican support uncertain

Democratic-led efforts to impeach US President Donald Trump for a historic second time gained momentum over the weekend, although it looked far from certain whether enough Republicans would back the move with just days left in his term.

Democratic members of the House of Representatives will introduce articles of impeachment on Monday after Trump encouraged his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Representative Ted Lieu said on Twitter.

The California Democrat, who helped draft the charges, said the articles had drawn 190 co-sponsors by Saturday night. As of Saturday afternoon, no Republicans had signed on, Lieu's spokeswoman said.

"We have videos of the speech where (Trump) incites the mob. We have videos of the mob violently attacking the Capitol. This isn’t a close call," Lieu tweeted Saturday night.

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks on Capitol assault 

Former Governor of California and actor delivered an impassioned speech on the assault via his Twitter feed.

Wall St

Wall St Week Ahead-As political risk fades, earnings may start to matter again

With uncertainties regarding U.S. elections fading, some investors expect company earnings and economic data to play a greater role in moving stock prices this year.

For months, earnings and economic data have largely taken a backseat as investors grappled with two overarching uncertainties and their ultimate impact on financial markets: the changing political landscape in Washington and the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe.

Options data showed that bets on large earnings-related stock moves were profitable only 24% of the time in the last earnings season, compared with a historical win rate of about 40%, according to options analytics firm ORATS.

Stocks have surged to record highs even as Citigroup’s U.S. Economic Surprise Index, which tracks economic data relative to expectations, has slipped to its lowest level in six months.

"In 2020, the fundamentals kind of went out the window," said Matt Amberson, principal at ORATS. Some investors believe that is about to change. The resolution of the Georgia Senate runoffs tipped control of the chamber to Democrats earlier this week. That gave investors more clarity on fiscal policies that will have a greater chance of being advanced in 2021, namely, President-elect Joe Biden’s proposals for increased fiscal spending and higher taxes.

When could we expect a third stimulus check?

As the second checks are currently being paid, US President-elect Joe Biden said his economic package will be in the trillions of dollars.

Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20, said he would map out plans for the stimulus package next Thursday, including efforts to ensure quicker distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

Second stimulus check: are college students eligible for payment?

A sum of $600 per qualified dependent will be added on to a family's share, but when is it possible for you to qualify for a stimulus check of your own?

Read more: 

Trump rattled, fragile and unpredictable after election defeat

Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker spoke about the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters on 6 January and how the president is dealing with losing the election to Joe Biden. "It was a remarkable day, I had planned to write about the president leading this rally outside the White House - never did I imagine that there would be a mob of rioters storming the Capitol, desecrating's desks, vandalising Pelosi's office... this is something we have never seen in this country. Has there ever been a time like this in our nation's history? This is a truly distressing moment. This is a dark day - it's one that Trump has had coming.

"My reporting with people in and around the White House suggest that the president is in a very, very fragile mental state right now. He is not taking well to what's happening, he feels betrayed by his vice-president Mike Pence and feels he has been stabbed in the back by Pence. A lot of Administration officials are uncertain about what he might do tomorrow". 

Parents may be able to claim stimulus payment for newborn babies

Parents who welcomed a new baby in 2020 and haven’t received an economic impact payment for their child as a dependent may be eligible for up to $1,100 of extra stimulus money, according to a report from MSN. Children born between 1 January and 31 December 2020 qualify for both stimulus payments if their parents meet income limits: $500 from the first check and $600 from the second round.

Amazon and Apple drop Parler

Parler, the alternative social media platform favored by conservatives and extremist supporters of President Trump has seen its presence on the internet vastly reduced after Amazon, Apple and Google removed it from their platforms in the space of 24 hours. The decision, which goes into force on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time, will shut down Parler's website and app until it can find a new hosting provider. 

 

How will the second stimulus check payments be made?

The new wave of Economic Impact Payments began in December and millions of Americans have received their $600 financial boost, but how will you get yours?

Read more:

TurboTax begins depositing stimulus payments after IRS error

Millions of TurboTax and H&R Block customers complained that their stimulus checks had been deposited in the wrong bank accounts -  either to an old bank account which they no longer use or to another account, possibly someone else’s.

Some TurboTax and H&R Block customers were surprised to see the last four digits of their bank account numbers were incorrect when they checked their payment status on the IRS' Get My Payment tool. TurboTax have addressed the matter and hope to have most of the payments available before Friday's deadline.

Stimulus check deadline to end this week

It is estimated that around 80% of the payments have now gone out but that means a fifth of the population have not received their stimulus check. The IRS have until Friday 15 January to get all of the $600 Economic Impact payments out - any outstanding stimulus payments must be made in the next five days.

 

Biden Inaugural Committee donors include Google, Microsoft, Boeing...

The Biden Inaugural Committee on Saturday released its list of donors, which included Google, Microsoft, Boeing and several other major corporations. The list contains all contributors who donated more than $200 to President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration ceremony.

Trump prepared to fight his corner with big tech firms

Donald Trump is preparing to scrap it out with Twitter and other social media platforms this week, a Trump adviser said, just days after the president's account was permanently banned. "This isn't just about President Trump, but this is literally about the 75 million Americans" who supported him, the adviser said. 

Capitol

Pope urges US to shun violence, protect democracy after mob attack

Pope Francis urged Americans on Sunday to shun violence, seek reconciliation and 'protect democratic values' following the mob attack on the US Capitol building by supporters of President Trump that left five people dead.

"I repeat that violence is self-destructive, always. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost," the pope said in his Sunday address.

Dozens of people have been charged following the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, with the FBI asking the public to help identify participants, given the proliferation of images of the riots on the internet. Five people have died, including a police officer. "I appeal to the authorities of the country and to the entire population to maintain a lofty sense of responsibility in order to calm things down, promote national reconciliation and protect democratic values that are rooted in American society," Francis said.

Francis said he wanted to send "an affectionate greeting" to all Americans, saying the country was 'shaken by the recent siege on Congress'. He said he was praying for those who died 'in those dramatic moments' and prayed that all Americans would 'keep alive a culture of encounter, a culture of caring, as the master way to build together the common good'.

Hello and welcome

Thank you for joining us as we begin our live blog on Sunday 10 January 2021.

We'll be bringing you all the latest news and reaction on the new stimulus package, the continued push for a bill to increase stimulus checks to $2,000, as well as the major political news coming out of Washington D.C.

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