Stimulus check: news summary for 12 January

AS English

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

Second stimulus check: live updates

Headlines

- Sen. Bernie Sanders named new Chairman of Senate Budget Committe, giving greater influence over federal spending

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

- Deadline for second stimulus check payment (15 January) fast approaching

- Trump declares state of emergency in Washington DC ahead of Inauguration Day

- Senate Majority Leader-designate Chuck Schumer promises round of $2,000 payments

- Raymond James' financial analyst predicts Biden will pass a new stimulus package worth trillions in early stages of his presidency

- 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 377,000, with over 22 million confirmed cases

Related stories: 

 

DTYT

YouTube set to suspend President Donald Trump's channel 

YouTube have confirmed that outgoing US President Donald Trump will have his channel suspended for at least a week. The platform declined to share details of the video that earned Trump the ban, but confirmed after the seven day period that they plan to review the decision. YouTube also removed content from the White House's channel for violating policy,

 

DT

Can lawmakers use impeachment to bar Trump from holding office again?

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to impeach President Donald Trump as soon as Wednesday, accusing him of inciting insurrection ahead of last week's storming of the Capitol.

The following is a primer on what a second impeachment proceeding of Trump would look like and how lawmakers could block Trump from running for president in 2024.

How does impeachment work?

A misconception about impeachment is that it refers to the removal of a president from office. In fact, impeachment refers only to the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress, bringing charges that a president engaged in “high crimes or misdemeanors."

If a simple majority of the House’s 435 members approves bringing charges, known as “articles of impeachment,” the process moves to the Senate, the upper chamber, which holds a trial. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict and remove a president.

House Democrats have accused Trump of inciting the "lawless  action" that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump on Tuesday told reporters that his speech to protesters before the Capitol was stormed was "totally appropriate."

When will the Senate hold a trial?

The top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, has said that because the Senate is in recess, the earliest a trial could begin is Jan. 20, the day of Biden's inauguration ceremony. To start sooner, all 100 senators would need to vote in favor of doing so.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is exploring using emergency authority to reconvene the Senate before then, a senior Democratic aide said on Monday. Such a move would require McConnell's approval.

Impeachment experts said the Senate is free to set its own rules and could hold a trial in a single day if it wanted to. 

Why have an impeachment trial if Trump is already gone?

Impeachment could be used to remove Trump from office and to disqualify him from holding political office in the future.

dollar

Dollar bounce fades as US yields slip

The dollar nursed losses on Wednesday as a retreat in US yields sapped momentum from its recent rebound and investors cautiously resumed bets that it can resume sliding.

The pullback in yields pushed the dollar below 104 Japanese yen to trade at 103.66 yen by midsession in Asia though moves were slight as dollar bears' conviction wavered.

"People are debating whether (market drivers are) going to be back toward interest rate differentials," said Paul Mackel, global head of foreign exchange research at HSBC on an outlook Zoom call with journalists.

"We don't think that's going to be the case," he said. "We still think it's going to be this ebb and flow of risk appetite that has been the dominant feature in the currency market for the past few quarters," he added, with the outlook for the dollar soggy but not dire as global growth returns.

The dollar index was steady at 90.004 after falling 0.5% on Tuesday and is not far above last week's nearly three-year low of 89.206.

Mitch won't oppose impeachment

On Wednesday the House will vote to impeach Donald Trump for a second time, a first in US history. In his first impeachment Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during Trump's first impeachment repeatedly spoke out against the Democrats' efforts.

This time around McConnell is furious with Trump over his supporters ransacking the US Capitol and the President's lack of contrition and has expressed that he would be open to holding an impeachment trial in the Senate. 

McConnell still hasn't said whether he will vote to convict with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' inauguration less than eight days away.

Three House GOP members support impeachment 

With less than eight days until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, the House is moving forward with impeachment of President Trump.  He would be the only President in history to be impeached twice.  

The House plans to vote on the articles of impeachment on Wednesday. Joining the Democrat majority will be three Republicans, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney. Representatives John Katko and Adam Kinzinger announced they would also vote to impeach Trump.

All air travelers entering US must test negative for covid-19 

The CDC announced that all air passengers entering the United States will need to provide a negative covid-19 test before boarding their flight. Written documentation of negative test results within three days of departure must be provided to the airline before boarding. 

Additionally, the CDC recommends passengers get tested again three to five days after arrival and stay home for the first week. 

The new rule will go into effect 26 January.

Pence to Pelosi, won’t invoke the 25th 

The House of Representatives is voting to resolution to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from his duties. Before the House has even finished voting Pence sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter telling her that he will not “yield to efforts ...to play political games.” 

Pelosi has said that if Pence will not act then the House will move on to voting on articles of impeachment. The Democrats have the votes to impeach Trump for a second time, however there has been discussion on whether the Senate would convict.  

The Senate trial could begin 19 January while Mitch McConnell is still Majority Leader. McConnell has not commented on if he would vote to convict but it is reported that he is open to the idea.

Walmart shuns politicians who objected to Biden election certification 

The Arkansas-based company said on Tuesday that in light of last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, its “political action committee is indefinitely suspending contributions to those members of Congress who voted against the lawful certification of state electoral college votes.” 

Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, joined other major companies in indefinitely suspending donations to US lawmakers who voted against President-elect Joe Biden’s election certification. 

After the ceremony was interrupted by rioters invading the US Capitol, which resulted in the death of 5 people, Congress reconvened to finish the election certification. At that time 147 Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate voted to challenge the Democratic president-elect’s victory in Pennsylvania or Arizona, even though both states already formally certified the results and election officials say there were no significant problems with the vote.

Bipartisanship may limit stimulus scope 

President-elect Joe Biden aides briefed congressional staffers Tuesday on his covid-19 relief plan. The measure will be tailored to get bipartisan support instead of using a special budgetary tool “reconciliation,” where only Democrat votes would be necessary, to get the legislation passed according to the Washington Post

Biden plans to present his proposal on Thursday which is expected to include a further extension of enhanced unemployment insurance, funding for local governments, money for vaccine distribution and $2,000 stimulus payments. This led to speculation that the price tag of the package could be below $2 trillion even though Biden has said that a stimulus plan could run into the multiple trillions of dollars.

ICYMI: Avoid stimulus check scams 

Some typical scams that have emerged taking advantage of the new stimulus checks finally being rolled out and top tips on how you can avoid them. 

Read more: 

Beware of stimulus check thieves 

In 2018, 14.4 million became victims of identity fraud, or roughly 1 in 15 people. In 2020, 91-year-old Rosie Lee Trotter, of Phoenix became another victim, but the identity thieves stole her first stimulus payment. The scammers filed an income tax return and put her on it as a dependent using her Social Security number, disqualifying her for the payment. 

She has been struggling to get her payment from the IRS since and worries that the second round will get stolen too. ABC15 contacted the offices of Arizona Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema for help. Sinema's office told ABC15 it would contact her and "work directly with the IRS on her behalf to resolve the situation." 

Sanders want to go “big” on stimulus

Senator Bernie Sanders under the Democrats new majority status in the Senate will chair of the Senate Budget Committee. He has said that he would move quickly in his new role to push through a robust and deficit-financed economic stimulus package once the new administration is sworn in. 

He will have a powerful tool at his disposal to move the administration’s agenda through the Senate called “reconciliation.” It allows Congress to move some legislation without gaining 60 votes and can thwart any filibuster attempt by Republicans on budgetary matters. 

Some of the features he wants to see in any new stimulus package include an additional $1,400 in direct payments for adults and children, on top of the $600 that Congress just passed. 

He also wants to create an emergency universal health care program, so that anyone can get medical treatment during the pandemic, whether they currently have insurance or not.

Biden to expand student loan payment freeze and forgive $10,000 

Student loan payments have been on hold for nearly a year due to the coronavirus induced economic crisis. President-elect Joe Biden will extend that freeze on "day one," according to transition official David Kamin. 

In addition Biden will call on Congress to immediately cancel $10,000 of federal student loan debt per person. He will also direct the Department of Education to expand income-based repayment programs, and fix and expand loan forgiveness programs for those with public service jobs. 

During the 2020 presidential primaries Senator Elizabeth Warren proposed forgiving up to $50,000 in debt and Senator Bernie Sanders called for cancelling all student loans.

Schumer lays out Dems plan

"The nation is facing unprecedented challenges: the greatest economic crisis in seventy-five years, the greatest public health crisis in a century, the climate crisis, and worsening income inequality and racial injustice," the incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York wrote in a letter to colleagues.

Senate Democrats are beginning to lay out their legislative agenda for the year.

Americans overwhelmingly support $2000 pandemic relief stimulus payments

President-elect Joe Biden reiterated his support for $2,000 pandemic relief payments to struggling Americans on Friday. As part of his agenda he sees the measure as part of a multi-trillion-dollar package to rebuild the American economy ravaged by the covid-19 pandemic.  

Now that the Senate is in Democrat control, getting the legislation to the floor and passing it will be easier. Senate Democrats and incoming majority leader Chuck Schumer support the $2,000 pandemic relief payments.   

So too does a majority of Americans across the political spectrum. New polling from Data for Progress and The Lab, a policy vertical of The Appeal shows that over 80% of voters are in favor, including 74% of Republicans. 

60% of voters also support making the $2000 payments recurring for the duration of the pandemic and 62% retroactive for past months in which Americans did not receive any form of relief. 

The argument against $2,000 checks

A third round of higher payments looked like a sure thing after Democrats won both Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia last week.

That was until Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he may oppose the payments.

His message: “If the next round of stimulus checks goes out, they should be targeted to those who need it.”

Other Democrats may still be deciding whether the checks should be a priority, Brian Gardner, chief Washington policy strategist at Stifel, wrote in an analyst note. CNBC have a look at the varying opinions in Congress.

Maryland Governor proposes billion-dollar RELIEF Act  

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has tabled an economic relief package which would provide up to $750 in stimulus payment for eligible residents. Those who qualify for the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit would receive up to $450 per individual or up to $750 for a family to help them deal with the economic consequences of covid-19. It is thought that over 400,000 Maryland residents would currently be eligible for support under the plan. 

On announcing the new proposal, Hogan said: “We will be introducing the RELIEF Act of 2021 as emergency legislation on day one. We will ask both houses of the legislature to act on it immediately, so that I can immediately sign it into law, and these relief measures can take effect.” 

Vast majority of Americans favour $2,000 stimulus checks: poll

Following the deadliest week yet of the covid-19 pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden on Friday reiterated his support for $2,000 pandemic relief payments to struggling Americans as part of a multi-trillion-dollar package. The measure is also backed by Senate Democrats and incoming majority leader Chuck Schumer. 

New polling from Data for Progress and The Lab, a policy vertical of The Appeal, shows that voters across party lines overwhelmingly support direct payments of $2,000. While over 80% of voters—including 74% of Republicans—support a one-time payment in that amount, strong majorities—60% and 62%, respectively—also support making them recurring and retroactive for the duration of the pandemic. 

FTC: Stimulus checks must go directly to the person 

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning to nursing homes, making clear that they do not have the right to take residents' stimulus checks to cover their care costs. It comes after reports that some nursing homes around the country have attempted to take their residents’ direct payments.  

A statement released by the FTC reads: “If you qualify for a payment, it’s yours to keep. If a loved one qualifies and lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s theirs to keep. The facility may not put their hands on it, or require somebody to sign it over to them. Even if that somebody is on Medicaid.” 

Biden calls to double US minimum wage

Joe Biden announced that the federal minimum wage in the US needs to be higher than the current $7.25 per hour with the current average minimum wage at around $11.80. Biden tweeted that the minimum hourly rate for all workers should be at least $15. 

Democrats race to impeach Trump, tempers flare

A fiery debate opened in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday over an effort to remove President Donald Trump from office for inciting supporters who carried out a deadly rampage at the Capitol last week, while Trump denied wrongdoing.

Democrats pushed Republican lawmakers to disavow Trump's false claim that President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 3 November election was illegitimate - the very claim that enraged Trump's supporters and prompted the violence in Washington that killed five including a police officer.

Follow all the latest in our special live blog:

Pro-stimulus Sen. Sanders set to chair Senate Budget Committee

Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders has been announced as the new Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, giving him influence over some of the biggest legislative priorities of the new administration. The Committee sets the terms for budget reconciliation, which allows Senators to approve certain tax and spending bills with a simple majority and sidestep the 60-vote threshold needed for most legislation.

Sanders has been a vocal supporter of increased financial support throughout the pandemic and was one of the first to call for $2,000 stimulus checks. With Biden aiming to pass more direct support during his first 100 days in office, Sanders has repeatedly pushed for an improved round of stimulus checks to be included. This new role will likely make it easier for the Democrats to pass their agenda. 

IRS corrects administrative error that saw 13 million miss out on stimulus check payments

An administrative error that resulted in millions of stimulus checks being sent to inaccessible bank accounts is being corrected, say one of the firms involved in the mix up. US citizens who who tax preparation companies to file their terms often have additional bank accounts created in their name for payment purposes. 

People who use companies like TurboTax, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt reported that their money had been sent to the wrong account because the wrong details were on file with the IRS. In many cases the account was in their name but they were completely unaware that it existed, meaning that the payments had to be withdrawn and then resent to the correct account. 

Read the full details: Millions of stimulus checks mistakenly sent to temporary accounts

ICYMI: Biden reiterates commitment to $2,000 stimulus checks

Yesterday President-elect Joe Biden confirmed on Twitter that he is looking for more direct payments to be made to Americans to boost the $600 provision included in the most recent covid-19 economic relief bill. After flipping the Senate to unify power in the Capitol, Democrats now stand a much better chance of enacting Biden's agenda. 

At a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday Biden called for more financial support to be offered to those struggling with the economic consequences of the pandemic. "We need more direct relief flowing to families, small businesses, including finishing the job of getting people the $2,000 relief direct payment," he said.

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation could bump unemployment benefits to $400

The MEUC provides $100 per week in additional unemployment benefits, on top of the $300 more widely available, for people with both a traditional job and who are self-employed. 

The latest relief bill extended unemployment benefits topping up state unemployment payments with an extra $300 per week. For individuals that have a mixed income, where they earn money from both an employer and a side business, the legislation also includes an extra $100 per week.

Congressional situation increases chance of a sizeable stimulus package

Joseph Brusuelas, Chief Economist for WSJ, has told Yahoo Finance that he believes that the events of last week could spur Congress into agreeing a more generous financial relief package. With an increased inclination amongst both parties to work together, there is a greater chance of the $2,000 stimulus checks passing Congress. 

He went on to say that the start of Biden's presidency would be the perfect time to commit federal funds to provide a boost to the economy. The interest rate is currently sitting at just 1.1%, meaning that "this is exactly the time to make long-term, strategic investment". 

$2,000 checks would provide huge boost to struggling families

New estimates from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) compares the impacts of $2,000 payments to $600 payments for Americans. Their study found that the increase would be of greatest benefit to those in the bottom 20% of earners, who are also the ones most likely to find themselves in serious financial trouble due to the pandemic. 

The study found that those with a projected earning of less than $21,300 in 2020 would have their income increase by about 29 percent by the $2,000 payment, compared to 8 percent by the $600 payment.

I haven't received the second stimulus check, what should I do?

After President Donald Trump signed the $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill, the IRS has been working as quickly as possible to send out the $600 stimulus check payments before the January 15 deadline that was stipulated in the bill.

With the tight deadline fast approaching, the IRS has sent out more than 80% of the stimulus checks, which is much quicker than the first round of stimulus checks, when it took the 19 days to send about 50% of the checks out. But that still leaves millions without the second round of direct support, here's how to check on the status of your stimulus check and claim it as a tax rebate if neccessary

Chicago Mayor echoes calls for $2,000 stimulus checks

The Mayor of Chicago has repeated demands for another round of stimulus check payments to help Americans sturggling with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has repeatedly called for greater assistance to be offered to individuals. 

Speaking after the nomination of Mayor Marty Walsh for Secretary of Labor last week, Lightfoot said: "With millions of Americans out of work and struggling to pay bills, it’s more important than ever to have a Sec. of Labor who’s on the side of working families"

$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.

President-elect Joe Biden, Democrat

New Senate leader Chuck Schumer calls for increased stimulus checks

The Democrats secured the two seats required to flip the Senate in the Georgia runoff election earlier this month, meaning that Dem Sen. Chuck Schumer will become Majority Leader of the Senate when the House returns on 19 January. As the leader of the Upper House Schumer holds a position of huge power when it comes to passing legislation, and has already confirmed commitment to anothe round of stimulus checks. 

Speaking in the Capitol last week, Schumer told the Senate floor: “One of the first things that I want to do when our new Senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families.” 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.

Sanders pushes for $2,000 stimulus checks

Sen. Bernie Sanders has reconfirmed his commitment to securing $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans and had called on President-elect Joe Biden to make it a priority when he takes office on 20 January. Sanders has been a lont-time supporter of greater direct support, comparing the United States' response to Canada, where citizens have received $2,000 per month since the pandemic began. 

On Monday Sanders tweeted: "President-elect Biden is absolutely right. $600 is not enough for working class Americans who are struggling to pay the rent and feed their families. Our first order of business must be to pass $2,000 direct payments and major COVID-relief."

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVA) removes his mask to speak as bipartisan members of the Senate and House gather to announce a framework for fresh coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief legislation at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

Democratic Senator says he would prefer more targetted stimulus checks

As his party pushes to have a new round of $2,000 stimulus checks sent to every eligible American earning under $75,000, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he' would prefer to see more targeted relief.

"I am on board by helping people that need help, people that really can't make it, people who don't have a job, they can't put food on their table. I am in total support of helping them," Manchin said.

"Sending checks to people that basically already have a check and aren't going to be able spend that or are not going to spend it, usually are putting it in their savings account right now, that's not who we are. We have done an awful lot of that, it's time now to target where the money goes."

US has used just under 36% of coronavirus vaccine doses

The US has so far used just over one-third of the 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses that it has been allotted, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has raised the issue, confirming that hospitals must administer vaccines within a week of receiving them or face a fine and a reduction in future supplies. 

"I don't want the vaccine in a fridge or a freezer, I want it in somebody's arm If you're not performing this function, it does raise questions about the operating efficiency of the hospital," he said.

 

In this file photo US President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the U.S. Women's Open round three on July 15, 2017 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. - As much as President Donald Trump loves golf, leaders of the sport are racing away from the embattled US leader for what they say is the good of the game. The PGA of America stripped the 2022 PGA Championship from Trump National at Bedminster, New Jersey, on January 10, days after Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol. (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

CNN looks at the "disastrous end to his shocking presidency"

"President Donald Trump is leaving America in a vortex of violence, sickness and death and more internally estranged than it has been for 150 years," writes Stephen Collinson for CNN.

"The disorientating end to his shocking term has the nation reeling from a Washington insurrection. The FBI warned Monday of armed protests by pro-Trump thugs in 50 states, which raise the awful prospect of a domestic insurgency. Health officials fear 5,000 Americans could soon be dying every day from the pandemic Trump ignored. Hospitals are swamped, medical workers are shattered amid a faltering rollout of the vaccine supposed to end the crisis.

"It took 200 years for the country to rack up its first two presidential impeachments. Trump's malfeasance has led the country down that awful, divisive path twice in just more than a year. With House Democrats expected to formally impeach the President for inciting a mob assault on Congress on Wednesday, he will rely on the Republican enablers who refused to rein in his lawlessness to save him from conviction again."

Trump Impeachment

As House Democrats move ahead this week to impeach President Trump over his role in Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, Republicans are looking gauge support for impeachment among the party's base. 

First known coronavirus cases in gorillas confirmed in US

San Diego Zoo Safari Park has confirmed that several gorillas have tested positive for Covid-19. These are the first known cases among such primates in the US and possibly the world, reports NBC...

FTC warns nursing homes not to take residents’ stimulus checks

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned nursing homes that the second round of stimulus checks are intended to for residents and not the facilities themselves.

“But, just in case, let’s be clear: If you qualify for a payment, it’s yours to keep,” the agency said on its website. “If a loved one qualifies and lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s theirs to keep. The facility may not put their hands on it, or require somebody to sign it over to them. Even if that somebody is on Medicaid.” 

 

Good morning

Hello and welcome as we begin our live blog this Tuesday morning, 12 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. 

.