Stimulus check: news summary for 11 January

$2,000 stimulus check updates today: third payment, dates, Biden, Trump, negotiation, live

US latest news: live updates

Headlines

- House Democrats officially file impeachment article

- Joe Biden reaffirms commitment to $2,000 stimulus checks

- 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. 

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

- US covid-19 death toll now over 374,000.

Related stories: 

Extended unemployment benefits

Congress extended unemployment benefits for the jobless just as more Americans are once again losing their jobs. Find out how you can track your payments.

Fewer HS seniors applying for financial aid bodes ill for their future careers

With many students attending school virtually during the pandemic they lack access to the personal contact with high school counsellors who can help them apply for financial aid to attend college. This is even more necessary for students who will be the first in their family to go on to higher education. Although schools in Minnesota are trying to reach out to students, the stress factors imposed by the covid-19 pandemic and the economic fallout mean that students are focusing on the essentials. Schools in Minnesota are seeing a decrease of 21% with high minority populations, compared with a roughly 7% drop at schools that serve fewer students of color.

$600 is simply not enough when you have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table.
 
We need $2,000 stimulus checks.

Joe Biden, President-elect

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation

The MEUC provides $100 per week in additional unemployment benefits on top of the $300 for people with both a traditional job and who are self-employed. Most, but not all, states have opted into the program to pay mixed earners, those with both a traditional job income and income from self-employment.

Read more to find out which states are paying and what the eligibility requirements are.

Who's on board with further stimulus?

The second round of Economic Impact Payments is still ongoing but with Joe Biden set to take office next week there is renewed support for $2,000 checks.

Read more:

State of emergency declared for DC 

President Trump signed a declaration of emergency starting 11 January for the District of Columbia in the runup to the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. The emergency will last until 24 January allowing the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate to provide appropriate assistance to the District. 

There have been threats made of additional attacks on the Capitol and at other state houses around the country since the assault on the Capitol last week.

Manatee mutilated  

US Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating the discovery in the Homosassa River of a manatee with "TRUMP" etched into its back according to reporting by The Chronicle Online. Manatees, or sea cows, are protected in Florida and are classified as a threatened species.

To impeach, or not to impeach 

Democrats are split on whether to impeach President Trump for inciting the violence that saw a mob burst into the Capitol building last week. The concern is that an impeachment trial, that would most likely start shortly after Biden is sworn in, would take up valuable time in the Senate. Thus hindering the confirmation of the Cabinet and passing legislation as part of Biden’s agenda, including a new stimulus package including $2000 stimulus checks. 

Representative James Clyburn floated the idea that the House could impeach Trump and wait 100 days to transmit the articles to the Senate. That would give Biden time to "get his agenda off and running." 

More covid-19 stimulus in Maryland 

Governor Larry Hogan announces a $1 billion coronavirus aid package. The RELIEF Act of 2021 will include income tax credits for around 400,000 low-to-moderate income Marylanders. The income tax credit would include $750 for families and $450 for individuals who applied for the Earned Income Tax Credit. They could see a check immediately of $500 and $300, respectively, once the bill is passed with a second check coming later. 

Investors feel that markets are over-valued 

As the world struggles to keep the coronavirus spread under control markets expressed worries that that valuations may be running too high. Despite a poor jobs report that saw the first US jobs loss, 140,000, since the start of the recovery markets continued to rise, reaching new highs, on the hopes of further stimulus, including Biden's push for $2000 stimulus checks. But now investors worry that equities are stretched in the face of the growing pandemic causing US stocks to fall for the first time in five sessions. 

Bay Area ICU capacity almost nil

With ICU capacity in the Bay Area continuing to reduce it is expected that the stay-at-home orders for the region will be extended another four weeks, perhaps indefinitely.  State public health officials said that the restrictions will stay in place until ICU bed capacity is greater than or equal to 15%.  

Under the extended order, residents are directed to stay at home except for work, shopping or other essential activities, such as medical appointments. 

Prisoners are eligible for stimulus check payments

Incarcerated Americans are eligible to receive the second round of stimulus checks after a legal dispute was ruled in their favour. The IRS had argued that inmates aren’t entitled to Covid-19 relief payments, but a federal judge disagreed and has ruled that they are eligible for the second round of payments.

When could we expect a third stimulus check?

Following a long and drawn-out negotiation process, Congress finally passed a second coronavirus stimulus bill valued at $900bn shortly before Christmas, which included a second round of much-needed stimulus checks that will be sent to around 165 million eligible Americans.

Ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on 20 January reports suggest that his team are already making plans for another large-scale relief package that could include another round of stimulus checks. 

Twitter shares take hit after Trump suspension

On Friday President Trump's personal account was permanently suspended after being adjudged to have been used to repeatedly incite violence. Trump's continued refusal to engage with a peaceful transition of power was the final straw. 

In response shares of Twitter Inc slumped by as much as 10% after it permanently suspended Trump's account. However the share price was still up about 178% since Trump took office in 2016.

Other Big Tech firms Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc-owned Google and Apple Inc fell between 1.1% and 2.0% as they took their strongest actions yet against Trump to limit his social media reach.

Shocking rate of covid-19 infections should be cause for concern

Evidence suggests that the rate of infection for the coronavirus is spiking across the US with over a hundred Americans currently being diagnosed every minute. At the most recent count the States had recorded 22,429,685 cases of covid-19, more than twice as many as the second-highest nation, India. 

Despite the spiralling death toll (nearly 375,000 confirmed covid deaths) President Donald Trump has said almost nothing about the virus in recent weeks, focusing instead on false claims of election fraud. When President-elect Joe Biden takes office on 20 January he has pledged to make covid response his top priority, calling on Americans to practice widespread mask-wearing for his first 100 days in office

Melania shares her thoughts

In case you missed it earlier. With less than normal levels of communication coming out of the White House lately, some understandable, the First Lady made her feelings known about the riots.

Some critics have argued that despite her condemnation for the violence, the statement is not focused where it should be, with her anger more pointed at comments made against her.

Make up your own mind:

Official: article of impeachment introduced

House Democrats officially file impeachment article accusing President Trump of inciting the attack on Capitol Hill.

This comes after House Republicans blocked a Democratic request on Monday to bring up a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to start the US Constitution's 25th Amendment process of removing President Donald Trump from office.

House Democrats sought agreement to immediately bring up the resolution for debate, but Republicans stopped it on a voice vote. Democrats have indicated they will seek a recorded vote on the same resolution on Tuesday.

Flipping the impeachment argument

The main push from the right against Donald Trump facing serious consecuences for his actions appear to be based on it making things worse. A curious spin on things and a point not lost on several commentators...

House Democrats accuse Trump of "incitement of insurrection"

House Democrats this morning released the articles of impeachment they are to introduce against Donald Trump, charging the president with "incitement of insurrection" over his role in Wednesday’s siege of the US Capitol by rioters.

"Donald Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States", the text says.

It adds: "President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He therefore betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States [...].

"[Trump] has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office."

House impeachment vote likely on Wednesday - chair of House rules committee

Representative Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House rules committee, says he expects the lower chamber of US Congress to vote on impeaching President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

"It is important that we act, and it is important that we act in a very serious and deliberative manner," McGovern told CNN's 'New Day' on Monday, per The Guardian. "We expect this up on the floor on Wednesday. And I expect that it will pass."

"What this president did is unconscionable, and he needs to be held to account," he added.

House Democrats are due to introduce articles of impeachment against the president on Monday morning.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is also set to table a motion calling on Vice-President Mike Pence to remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution, but this bid is expected to fail.

Germany has reservations about Trump Twitter ban, Merkel spokesman says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reservations about the way President Donald Trump's Twitter account was suspended, her spokesman said, adding that legislators, not private companies, should decide on any necessary curbs to free expression.

The intervention by Steffen Seibert, her chief spokesman, reflects concern in Berlin and much of Europe at the power giant social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have to shape public discourse.

Merkel's relations with Trump have been frosty during the his four years in office, making her apparent decision to side with him in his objections to being removed from the platform all the more striking.

Twitter permanently banned Trump after his supporters stormed the US. Capitol in Washington, unleashing hours of chaos in which five people died. The platform said his tweets could cause more violence.

"The right to freedom of opinion is of fundamental importance," Seibert told reporters at a regular government news conference in Berlin on Monday. "Given that, the chancellor considers it problematic that the president's accounts have been permanently suspended."

He added that Twitter's practice of adding notes to Trump's inaccurate tweets had been appropriate, since the platform bore a responsibility for ensuring public discourse was not poisoned by hate, lies or incitement.

(Reuters)

Melania slams "salacious gossip", mourns rioters first in statement on Capitol Hill violence

First Lady Melania Trump has condemned the attack on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, but has drawn criticism for expressing her sorrow first for the four rioters who died during the unrest, and only then for the officers killed in the violence.

In a statement posted on the White House website on Monday, the first lady said: "My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time […].

"Our Nation must heal in a civil manner. Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable."

Melania Trump also hit out at "salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me", which appears to be a reference to reports that she continued with a photo shoot at the White House as the riots were unfolding, despite staffers’ pleas for her to intercede.

Trump to discuss social-media shut-out today?

CNBC’s Washington Correspondent Eamon Javers is reporting that Donald Trump could be preparing to speak to the media about big tech today, in the wake of the outgoing president’s ban from his social-media accounts and conservative social-networking service Parler being dropped by Amazon, Google and Apple.

What's impeachment and what's necessary to convict Trump?

Should Congress move to impeach Donald Trump following last Wednesday's events at the Capitol, he will become the first-ever president to face impeachment twice.

Full story:

What has Joe Biden said about a third stimulus check?

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to provide Americans with further economic relief after taking office.

Full story:

AOC gives her take on impeachment and Congress riot

"We came close to half of the House nearly dying on Wednesday," said Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in an interview on ABC, where she layed out her reasons to support the removal of Donald Trump from office. 

“If a foreign head of state came in and ordered an attack on the United States Congress would we say that should not be prosecuted... there should be absolutely no response to that?” -

Biden names Bill Burns as new CIA director

Joe Biden has named William Burns as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Monday. 

"The American people will sleep soundly with him as our next CIA Director," Biden said in a statement.

"Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure," Biden said. "He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect."

Twitter shares slump 8% after Trump account suspension

Twitter's German-listed shares slumped as much as 8% on Monday, the first trading day after it permanently suspended U.S. President Donald Trump's account late on Friday.

The company said suspension of Trump's account, which had more than 88 million followers, was due to the risk of further violence, following the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Reuters)

 

Former tech-CEO criticies criticizes Trump social media muzzle

Former tech-CEO Thierry Breton has criticized the move by social media networks to ban President Donald Trump following last week's Congress riot. 

"The fact that a CEO can pull the plug on POTUS’s loudspeaker without any checks and balances is perplexing," said Breton, who was a professor at Harvard Business School and a Finance minister of France.

When could we expect a third stimulus check?

With the $600 payments not expected to last long for those struggling with mortgage payments, rent, bills and other expenses amid the coronavirus pandemic, many American citizens are now wondering if there will be a third stimulus check and it would appear that there is an affirmative answer in the pipeline. Read more...

In this file combination of pictures created on May 22, 2019 shows US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)(L) talks about healthcare legislation on Capitol Hill March 26, 2019, in Washington, DC and US President Donald Trump announces a new immigration proposal, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 16, 2019. - US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said January 10, 2021, she was ready to start second impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump unless he was removed from office within days. (Photos by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Legislative efforts to remove Trump from office begin today

Democratic efforts led by House speaker Nancy Pelosi to have Donald Trump removed from office will begin today. Mrs Pelosi confirmed on Sunday that the House will first try to get Vice President Mike Pence to oust the President using the 25th amendment with legislation on Monday.

However if this fails, as is expected with Republicans expected to block the move, the House of Representatives will begin proceedings to have the president impeached. 

Beware of stimulus check scams

"Scammers are already taking advantage of the new pandemic relief bill. They might try to get you to pay a fee to get your stimulus payment or try to convince you to give them your Social Security number or bank account," warns Stop Fraud Colarado...

Arnold Schwarzenegger calls Trump "worst president" in US history

Hollywood star and former Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has labelled Donald Trump as the "worst president" in US history and urged Americans to offer their support to President-elect Joe Biden.

"We need to heal, together, from the drama of what has just happened," Schwarzenegger said in a seven-and-a-half minute video posted on Twitter. "We need to heal, not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Americans."

Experts warn that January could be deadliest month

Health experts have warned that the US may be set for the deadliest month since the start of the pandemic, which has already claimed the lives of over 374,000 in the country, and urged people to follow protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing. 

"We're in a dire situation," said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health (via NewsWatch 12). "News'We know how to slow the spread of the virus. We need mask mandates. We need people to really stay at home and avoid any indoor gatherings."

IRS urges people to watch out for stimulus checks in the mail

Two weeks on since the IRS began sending the direct payments to bank accounts, it has now started to distrubute the physical stimulus checks in the mail...

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.

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. 

Good morning

Hello and welcome as we begin our live blog this Monday morning, 11 January. We'll be bringing you all the latest news and reaction from the US related to the coronavirus, politics and stimulus checks throughout the day. 

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