Stimulus check: news summary for 13 January

AS English

COMMENT

Second stimulus check: live updates (13 Jan.)

Headlines

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

- GOP Sen. Rubio calls for $2,000 checks to unite Congress and Joe Biden reaffirms commitment to $2,000 checks

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

- Trump YouTube channel set to be removed for at least a week for policy violation

- 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

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

- New Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine promising in early stage trials 

- US covid-19 death toll now over 381,000, with over 22.9 million confirmed cases

Related stories: 

gas

Gasoline pushes US consumer prices higher in December

U.S. consumer prices increased solidly in December amid a surge in the cost of gasoline, though underlying inflation remained tame as the economy battled a raging covid-19 pandemic, which has weighed on the labor market and the services industry.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index increased 0.4% last month after gaining 0.2% in  November.

An 8.4% jump in gasoline prices accounted for more than 60% of the rise in the CPI. In the 12 months through December the CPI advanced 1.4% after increasing 1.2% in November.

Last month's CPI readings were in line with economists expectations. The CPI rose 1.4% in 2020. That was the smallest yearly gain since 2015 and was a deceleration from 2.3% in 2019. The CPI increased at a 1.7% average annual rate over the last 10 years.

JB

Bonds slip as markets bet Biden goes big

US Treasuries slipped on Thursday on a report that President-elect Joe Biden will announce a stimulus package as big as $2 trillion, while Japanese stocks surged to a new three-decade peak as investors extended bets on a global growth rebound.

The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries rose two basis points to 1.1105% after CNN reported on the possibility Biden could spend $2 trillion, which is much more than market expectations and which would be funded by borrowing.

More help for families 

After Joe Biden is sworn in, he wants to act quickly to pass a new round of stimulus for the ailing US economy in the middle of a growing pandemic. He is expected to release his proposal this week which will include $2000 stimulus checks. 

The President-elect is also planning on providing more help to poor and middle-class households with children. According to the Washington Post this is expected to include: 

- $300 per month to American households for every child under 6 

- $250 per month for every child between the ages of 6 and 17 

- Extend the existing child benefit to millions of poor families currently shut out of the program 

The Senate will have a full plate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - US President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Senate leadership to work on other business while dealing with their responsibilities on impeachment after a House of Representatives vote that made Donald Trump the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice.

“I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation,” Biden said in a statement.

Amtrak Joe’ won’t take the train 

During his time in the Senate, Joe Biden earned the moniker ‘Amtrak Joe’ for taking the 90-minute ride from his home in Delaware to DC everyday so that he could be with his sons. As President-elect, he had planned to take the train to DC for his inauguration on 20 January despite heightened concerns after the violent attack on the US Capitol last week. However after further concerns have come to light that have made him and his transition team change plans.

A look inside the Capitol

Extra security measures are always taken around any inauguration but ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration next week security in the nation's capital has been beefed up more than normal. Local and federal security officials expect about 20,000 National Guard members to be involved in securing DC in light of the events of last week and further threats in the coming weeks. 

New single dose covid vaccine promising in early trials

Early stage trials of Johnson & Johnson's experimental coronavirus vaccine show it generated an immune response in nearly all volunteers, with minimal side-effects, after a single dose.

The company expects to report details of more advanced trials later this month and is hoping to apply for authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration soon after.

Researchers who tested the vaccine in a combined Phase 1-2 trial -- mostly meant to show safety -- found either one or two doses of the vaccine generated both antibody and T-cell responses against the coronavirus.

The trials were not designed to show whether the vaccine protected people against either infection or symptoms of coronavirus -- that's what the ongoing Phase 3 trials are designed to do. Via CNN.

Trump makes post-impeachment statement

More than 10m Americans get first dose of coronavirus vaccine

As the clock counts down to the Biden/Harris administration and potential new stimulus check payments, news comes that the US has administered at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to more than 10m Americans.

The number of people who have begun the vaccination process leapt to 10.3m on Wednesday from 9.3m the day before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency also said 29.3m doses have been distributed as of Wednesday morning. 

The Trump administration has urged governors this week to accelerate vaccinations, with the CDC updating its guidance to advise that states expand eligibility to people over 65 and younger Americans who have a comorbidity.

Alex Azar, the US health secretary, told ABC News on Tuesday that the “administration in the states has been too narrowly focused”. 

Via Matthew Rocco at FT 

Trump impeached a second time in Senate for inciting insurrection

These are the Republicans who broke ranks to vote in favour.

Nurses share photos of scars brought on by covid-19 mask wearing

English actor Jason Isaacs has shared images of female health workers scarred by their coronavirus masks as he implores others to wear masks in public spaces.

"They're wearing masks all day, every day till it scars them, all to save our lives. You can put one on in a shop for 10 minutes."

Kamala Harris reinforces new administration's promise for $2,000 third stimulus check

The vice president-elect Harris wrote on Twitter:

"Food banks are strained trying to feed people worried about where they'll get their next meal.

Essential workers continue to risk their own health and their families for us all.

Small business owners from restaurants to barber shops are hurting.

We need $2,000 stimulus checks."

Donald Trump statement on future demonstrations

NEW: President Trump statement: "In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for."

As the House continues to debate his impeachment today, Donald Trump, unable to tweet himself, due to being banned from Twitter, sends a message that violence and lawlessness will not be tolerated.

In a barely-masked attempt to salvage his reputation as an impeachment article is expected to proceed to the Senate, Donald Trump has released an official statement asking all Americans to calm their tempers.

Third stimulus check: what would a "targeted" package mean?

President-elect Joe Biden is in favour of a new covid-19 relief bill that provides $2,000 stimulus checks but some in his party want a more focused package.

Trump Impeachment live updates

Follow our live rolling feed for all the latest news as the House of Representatives debate the article of impeachment against Donald Trump today, Wednesday 13 January.

$600 stimulus checks fuel January spending boom

Armed with their new $600 stimulus checks, consumers appear to be back in the shopping mood this month after spending cautiously this past holiday season.

Big-name retailers such as Lululemon, Crocs, Zumiez and others have come out this week with much better than expected fourth quarter results. More importantly, executives at these companies — who are presenting at the ICR Consumer Conference 2021 this week — have voiced optimism on trends so far in January.

“We believe a number of factors are at play, including some benefit from stimulus beginning to take hold,” says Jefferies retail analyst Janine Stichter, talking to Yahoo Finance.

New Biden proposal to include $2,000 stimulus checks and improved unemployment benefits

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce details of his new covid-19 economic relief bill tomorrow, with experts predicting a much-needed burst of federal spending. The Democrats were unable to pass a bill of the same size as the CARES Act in recent negotiations, but now that the balance of power in Congress has shifted there is renewed hope. 

“It will be in the trillions of dollars,” Biden said last Friday, arguing that greater spending was needed to reduce the long-term economic damage of the pandemic. The first large-scale pandemic relief plan, the CARES Act enacted by Congress in March, cost roughly $2 trillion.

It is thought that the new plan will add $1,400 to the recent stimulus payments to reach a $2,000 total. No timeframe has yet be reported for this top-up payment to be made. 

Study shows widespread support for $2,000 stimulus checks

Shortly after President-elect Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to providing another round of stimulus checks after he take office, a study carried out by Data for Progress and The Lab found widespread support for the move amongst supporters of both major parties. 

Here's a breakdown of the study's findings:

- 81% of voters support a one-time payment of $2,000 as part of the next COVID-19 relief package, including 90% of Democrats, 79% of independents, and 74% of Republicans. 

- 60% of voters want recurring monthly payments of $2,000 until the pandemic is over, including three out of four Democrats and 57% of independent voters. 

- 62% of voters support $2,000 payments for past months in which Americans did not receive any form of relief. 

New Senate leader amongst those calling for increased stimulus checks

The second round of stimulus check payments is due to end on 15 January with the majority of Americans having already received their $600 Economic Impact Payments. Throughout negotiations in Congress many were arguing for greater support, matching or even exceeding the $1,200 checks that were included in the first stimulus package. 

The Democrats were unable to get their proposals through the Senate but having regaining control of the Senate in the Georgia runoff race there is renewed that that it could be done. Senate Majority Leader-designate Chuck Schumer told Congress: “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.”

 

Report into IRS' stimulus check distribution published

A report into the IRS by National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins found that although it “generally performed well”, administrative errors had resulted in millions of taxpayers being denied vital financial support for months in 2020

However the report also found that the IRS has been sending out the second round of payments much more efficiently than the first. For the first round of payments millions of Americans were waiting for months for the money, but officials are hoping to have the second round of payments completed by 15 January. 

Collins wrote: “The lessons learned from the first round will make the process go more smoothly in 2021, and to the extent there are any inconsistencies or errors, taxpayers will be able to address them with the filing of their 2020 income tax returns rather than waiting for the IRS to correct erroneous payment amounts.”

GOP Senator asks Biden to pass $2,000 stimulus checks

A letter obtained by AXIOS reportedly shows Republican Senator Marco Rubio asking President-elect Joe Biden to raise the stimulus check payment included in the recently passed coronavirus relief bill to $2,000. Payments for the second round of direct support are supposed to have been concluded by 15 January, but Biden could sign a 'top-up' bill issuing an additional $1,400. 

Rubio reportedly suggested that doing so would help foster unity in Congress after months of division: “It would send a powerful message .. if, on the first day of your presidency, you called on the House and Senate to send you legislation to increase the [stimulus payments] from $600 to $2,000”, said Rubio. 

"$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

Additional $400 unemployment benefits available with Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation

Americans who 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 in Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, or MEUC, letting those individuals get up to $400 per week.

The MEUC provides $100 per week in additional unemployment benefits, on top of the standard $300, for people with both a traditional job and who are self-employed. The additional support is part of the $900 billion coronavirus relief package agreed shortly before Christmas, which also included the second round of stimulus checks. 

Here's everything you need to know about the MEUC unemployment benefits, and how to check if you are eligible.  

Harris echoes Biden's calls for $2,000 stimulus checks

VIce President-elect Kamala Harris is eager for Americans to receive another round of direct payments early in the Biden administration to top up the $600 payments secured in the recent $900 billion stimulus package. The Democrats had been pushing for the larger amount but the GOP-held Senate made passing a more substantial amount impossible. 

Now that the Democrats have flipped the Senate, Ed Mills, a financial analyst for investment bank Raymond James, believes that everything is in place to secure a more generous round of stimulus check payments.

"We expect growing anticipation that Democrats will pursue additional stimulus, with a $2,000 check (or at least the remaining $1,400) as a leading item," Mills wrote.

Pro-stimulus Sen. Sanders named chair of Budget Committe

Independent Senator for Vermont Bernie Sanders will become the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, a role that gives him considerable sway over federal funding issues. Despite not being a member of the Democratic Party Sanders caucuses with the party and takes this new position after the Democrats successfully flipped the Upper House in the Georgia runoff election. 

In the role Sanders will have much greater influence over taxes, health care, climate change and several other domestic issues. He will also gain control of a budget mechanism called reconciliation, which allows Congress to move some legislation without gaining 60 votes. This was used by Trump to pass his trademark tax breaks and could now be use to pass a more generous stimulus package, which Sanders has publically supported. 

“I believe that the crisis is of enormous severity and we’ve got to move as rapidly as we can,” Mr. Sanders said about the prospect of greater covid-19 financial relief in a recent interview. “Underline the word aggressive,” he said. “Start out there.”

What to do if you don’t receive your stimulus check before the deadline

In late-December President Trump signed a $900 billion covid-19 stimulus bill into law which provided a second round of stimulus check payments. However the legislation also stipulated a deadline of 15 January for Americans to have received the $600 payment by.

The IRS has moved much more quickly for the second round of payments with over 80% of stimulus checks already distributed, but there are still millions of Americans yet to get theirs. With those payments due to stop on 15 January, here’s what to do if you haven’t received your second stimulus check.

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.”

FTC: Stimulus checks must go directly to the recipient

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.”

MP

Despite initial 'no', US House urges Pence to start process of removing Trump from office

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to urge Vice President Mike Pence to start the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment process of removing President Donald Trump from office, although the vice president already has said he will not do so.

To invoke the 25th Amendment, Pence and a majority of Trump's Cabinet would need to declare that Trump is unable to perform his duties. Pence rejected that course of action earlier Tuesday. The House is expected to vote Wednesday on impeaching Trump on charges that he incited an insurrection against the US government.

Chuck Norris denies being in DC on day of Capitol assault 

"It wasn't me, I wasn't there" stated the actor after claims that the 80-year-old was spotted outside the US Capitol on the day of the disturbances.

Unemployment benefits: who could get $400 and what's the 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.

McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses -New York Times

US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has told associates he believes President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses and he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with his thinking.

Rapinoe says Capitol siege showed America's true colours

World Cup winning U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe said the "murderous mob" of President Donald Trump's supporters who stormed the Capitol last week showed the country's true colours.

At least five people died in the attack after hundreds of the president's followers breached the Capitol while Congress worked to certify Joe Biden's victory in November's presidential election.

"This was about white supremacy and holding up white supremacy," Rapinoe told reporters.

"Hopefully (it's) the final straw for so many people to really understand the reason we're here is because we never have actually had a reckoning with what our country really is.

"I think we showed very much our true colours. This is not the first time we've seen a murderous mob like that."

 

Third stimulus check: who has supported a new payment?

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.

Trump declares State of Emergency: where and what does it mean?

The President has agreed to provide FEMA and the Department of Home Security resources to protect Washington, DC after threats to Biden's inauguration.

YT

YouTube suspends Trump's channel after violating policy on inciting violence

Alphabet Inc's YouTube said on Tuesday it has suspended Donald Trump's channel as it violated policies for inciting violence after last week's assault on the U.S. Capitol by the president's supporters.

Online platforms and social media companies are distancing themselves from, and taking action against, those that encouraged or engaged in the violence in Washington, DC.

Trump's channel is now prevented from uploading new videos or livestreams for a minimum of seven days, which may be extended, Youtube said in a statement. 

Supporters of Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, trying to halt the certification by Congress of President-elect Joe Biden's election win.

Hello and welcome 

​​​​​​Hello and welcome as we begin our live blog this Wednesday morning, 13 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.

.