Second stimulus check: news summary for 15 January

Second stimulus check: live updates - 15 Jan.

Headlines

- US President-elect Joe Biden outlines new stimulus proposal including additional $1,400 stimulus check payments

- Biden on his American Rescue Plan: “There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”

- Donald Trump impeached for 'inciting' US Capitol riot in historic second charge

- Federal unemployment benefits increased to $400 and extended until September

- Biden to unveil coronavirus vaccine distribution plan on Friday as cases soar

- Federal minimum wage would increase to $15 per hour under new proposal

- Rehearsal for Biden's inauguration postponed due to security concerns

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

National Guard mobilises across US ahead on Inauguration Day

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

Snapchat latest platform to ban Trump

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

- US covid-19 death toll now over 389,000, with over 23.4 million confirmed cases

Further reading:

Azar tells Trump Capitol attack could tarnish legacy

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Donald Trump in a letter this week that the attack on the Capitol could tarnish the legacy of the administration.

In the letter, dated 12 January, Azar cited what he called the administration's successes, including the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, which he said saved 'hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives.'

But, Azar, who will remain on the job until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on 20 January, voiced concern that last week's mob siege of the Capitol building and Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud 'threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration.' 'The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power,' Azar wrote in his formal resignation letter.

Biden's new rescue plan and the third stimulus check explained

President-elect Joe Biden has now unveiled the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus economic-aid proposal that includes a $1,400 stimulus check.

Read the full story:

Some Democrats dissatisfied with third stimulus

Senators Ed Markey and Bernie Sanders have proposed a much larger aid package in the face of continuing financial desperation and ever-rising coronavirus cases, causing job losses and business closures.

Donald Trump: the president of 30,000 lies

As Joe Biden prepares to implement his ambitious plans for coronavirus, the economy and new stimulus checks and Donald Trump packs his bags to leave the White House, here are some highlights (lowlights?) of the biggest lies the 45th president told in his four year single term.

What is the American Rescue Plan?

President-elect Joe Biden has announced a new covid-19 economic relief bill, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks, additional unemployment benefits and a billions to speed up vaccine roll-out.

Biden stimulus plan to include minimum wage overhaul

Commentator from MSNBC applauds the fact that Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan not only includes a minimum wage increase, but specifically applies the same increase to hospitality staff who would normally otherwise rely on tips and bring parity to workers with disabilities.

Biden will encourage vaccination of all people over 65, frontline workers

Biden will encourage vaccination of all people over 65, frontline workers

(Reuters) - The incoming administration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will seek to vaccinate all people over 65 and frontline workers, as Biden seeks to administer 100 million covid-19 vaccines during his first 100 days in office.

The Biden team said that after he takes office on Jan. 20, Biden will use the Defense Production Act to increase supply of vaccine vials, syringes, needles and related equipment to try and speed up the vaccination of Americans.

Thursday evening Biden announced his American Rescue Plan which includes a $1,400 stimulus check for qualifying Americans.

Man suing Twitter, Omar and AOC for "overbearing pain and suffering" after Trump account ban

A California man is suing Twitter and two progressive congresswomen in connection with President Donald Trump's suspension from the social media platform, citing "overbearing pain and suffering."

In the complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in California on Tuesday, Erik Estavillo argued that he and every "follower that was, without a doubt, emotionally and mentally damaged as a result of the Presidents' ban" is entitled to $88.7 million each.

Estavillo, who is representing himself, is also seeking the reinstatement of Trump's account and a retaliatory Twitter ban on Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, who, he argues, promote "Eastern communist philosophies."

 

Ahead of inauguration new security measures descend on DC

As Joe Biden prepares to lead the country and bring a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks to needy families and businesses, all hands on deck to secure the Capitol building ahead of inauguration day, 20 January following the violent insurrection last Wednesday.

Pence finally calls Harris to congratulate and offer support

But still no Trump-Biden call. Astonishingly, with just five days until the inauguration, over a week since Biden/Harris victory was ratified in the electoral college and over two full months since it was confirmed, the AP reports that vice president Mike Pence has called vice president-elect Kamala Harris to offer assistance, and congratulate her win.

It’s the first known contact between the elected members of the outgoing and incoming administrations. President Donald Trump has not reached out to President-elect Joe Biden and has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s win.

One of the people familiar with the Thursday afternoon conversation described it as a “good call,” with Pence congratulating his successor and offering assistance. 

Why has Biden promised stimulus checks worth $1,400 in his new proposal?

It seems like a strange amount to pick but the $1,400 figure represents the difference between the $600 second stimulus check included in December’s $900bn relief bill and the $2,000 that Democrats unsuccessfully sought to raise this to.

"We will finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in cash relief to people who need it the most," Biden said as he presented the $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (ARP) in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

"The $600 already appropriated is simply not enough if you have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. Even for those who have kept their jobs, these checks are really important."

Business experts give approval to Biden's stimulus plan

A group of CEOs have given their backing to Biden's $1.9 trillion spending package announced last night. Business Roundtable is Washington-based nonprofit organisation whose members are chief executive officers of major United States companies.

The package is designed to help small businesses who have been worst-hit by the pandemic and the economic uncertainty that it has caused. Amongst the details included in Biden's American Rescue Plan were additional provisions for small businesses like an extension to the foreclosure moratorium. There is also a proposed rise to the federal minium wage, upping it from $7.25 to $15 per hour. However some have suggested that this could prove usustainable for some businesses. 

Biden proposal would double the federal minimum wage

Alongside the direct coronavirus economic support offered in Biden's American Rescue Plan, the most striking detail to emergence from last night's announcement was the introduction of a $15 per hour federal minimum wage. The move would more than double the previous national minimum wage ($7.25) and bring it level with the highest state minimum wage in the country. 

Currently Washington, D.C. boasts the highest hourly minimum wage at $15, followed by California with $14 per hour. Washington State and Massachusetts are close behind, with $13.69 per hour and $13.50 per hour, respectively. 

Much of Biden's focus with the new bill is to provide an economic boost that improves conditions for those who have suffered the most during the pandemic. The $1,400 stimulus checks were not to everyone's liking but a $15 minimum wage will certainly help those at the bottom. 

Biden aides: Stimulus bill is "ambitious and achievable"

On Thursday evening Biden proposed a new covid-19 economic package that is hoped to kick-start the US economy. Having gained unified power in Congress the Democrats have a much better chance of passing a more generous bill, and the one proposed by Biden totals $1.9 trillion. 

Of that huge sum, roughly $200 billion will be used to create a national vaccine programme. The Biden-Harris transition team have only just gained access to the federal vaccine system currently in place and found that there are some glaring gaps in the previous administration's plans. They hope that this funding boost will help correct the missteps in real time. 

What is the American Rescue Plan?

President-elect Joe Biden announced his first flagship economic policy last night, outlining details of the American Rescue Plan he hopes will restart the floundering US economy. The package includes the expected round of stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, as well as a huge increase to the federal minimum wage

“During this pandemic, millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck,” said Biden, on stage in Wilmington, Delaware. “There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”

Full details of the American Rescue Plan

The new round of $1,400 stimulus checks had been anticipated after Biden's recent comments, but what elese was included in the new covid-19 economic relief bill. The package that the President-elect announced last night included $1.9 trillion in federal funding and focused on tackling both the cause (the coronavirus) and the consequences (the economic hardship) of the pandemic. 

As well as the stimulus checks there was an additional $400 unemployment benefits boost, raised minimum wage and extended rental aid. There is also $70 billion in federal funding to improve the US' testing capabilities and to speed up the vaccine roll-out. 

$1,400 third stimulus check included in Biden's $1.9tn proposal

In an address last night, President-elect Joe Biden outlined his new covid-19 economic relief bill which includes another round of stimulus check payments. The $1,400 payments included in the bill will act as a the second part of the $600 payments currently being distributed, to make the total of $2,000. 

"We will finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in cash relief to people who need it the most," Biden said as he presented the $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (ARP) in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

"The $600 already appropriated is simply not enough if you have to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. Even for those who have kept their jobs, these checks are really important."

AOC unhappy with stimulus bill proposal

Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 Rescue Plan relief bill has been met with praise from many since it was announced in Wilmington, Delaware last night. However some progressive lawmakers feel that the support does not go far enough, especially considering that it would be the first relief bill of this size since the CARES Act was passed last March. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argues that the stimulus checks should be a stand-alone $2,000, rather than simply an additional $1,400 on top of the recently-distributed $600 payments.

Some had also been calling for the new package to include retroactive unemployment benefits, to provide back payments for eligible Americans whose unemployment benefits have finished before this new bill is passed. Previously there was only federal funding for 13-20 weeks of additional unemployment benefits, depending on the state. 

What's in Biden's covid-19 rescue plan?

Last night President-elect Joe Biden outlined the first major legislation of his presidency as he unveiled a new stimulus package called the Covid-19 Rescue Plan. Included in the package are the much-discussed addional stimulus checks to bump up the total amount of the previous round to $2,000

Biden has focused attention on getting through the pandemic throughout his run to the White House and the $1.9 trillion bill is designed to do just that. Alongside the considerable boost to unemployment benefits is an additional $400 billion for coronavirus response, much of which will be used to increase the speed of vaccine roll-out

Biden confirms additional $1,400 stimulus checks in new proposal

Last night President-elect Joe Biden announced details of his covid-19 economic releif bill, which he will hope to see passed during the early days of his presidency. Although only a proposal at this stage, with the Democrats now holding a majority in both Houses of Congress, Biden should be able to pass the package fairly comfortably. 

The new bill adds an extra $1,400 direct payment to the $600stimulus checks that Congress approved most recently. Biden described this as "finish[ing] the job of getting a total of $2,000 in relief to people who need it the most."

He continued:  “During this pandemic, millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck. There is real pain overwhelming the real economy.”

vaccine

Scientists think vaccines will work on Brazil covid variant - UK minister

Britain's transport minister said scientists think that covid-19 vaccines will work on a new variant of the coronavirus found in Brazil and a decision to ban flights from South America and Portugal was made over concerns it spreads faster.

"We had a look at this particular mutation, as opposed to many other thousands very carefully, saw there may be an issue, not so much that the vaccine won't work, in fact scientists think it will work, but just the fact it is more spreadable," Grant Shapps told the BBC.

What is the next step in the impeachment process for Trump?

The House has passed articles of impeachment against Donald Trump for a second time, but will the Senate get a chance to vote on it before he leaves office?

Rehearsal for Biden's inauguration postponed due to security concerns 

A rehearsal for U.S President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration scheduled for Sunday has been postponed because of security concerns, Politico reported late on Thursday, citing two people with knowledge of the decision.

The rehearsal is now planned for Monday, according to the report.

Biden's team had also canceled an Amtrak trip from Wilmington to Washington planned for Monday due to heightened security concerns, the report added. Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

The president-elect's team did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Thursday. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray said earlier that the FBI was looking into individuals who could possibly threaten the safety of the inauguration.

Capitol

US says Capitol rioters meant to 'capture and assassinate' officials

Federal prosecutors offered an ominous new assessment of last week's siege of the US Capitol by President Donald Trump's supporters on Thursday, saying in a court filing that rioters intended 'to capture and assassinate elected officials.'

Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was famously photographed wearing horns as he stood at the desk of Vice President Mike Pence in the chamber of the U.S. Senate.

The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, goes into greater detail about the FBI's investigation into Chansley, revealing that he left a note for Pence warning that "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming."

Joe B

Biden to confirm coronavirus vaccine distribution plan as cases soar

President-elect Joe Biden will on Friday outline his plan to ramp up vaccinations against covid-19 as he prepares to take office amid soaring infection rates and an early rollout by the Trump administration he called 'a dismal failure.'

Biden has promised to take more serious action to curb the virus than his predecessor, President Donald Trump, and get 100 million vaccine shots into the arms of Americans during his first 100 days in office.

"The vaccines offer so much hope ... but the vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far," Biden said in remarks late on Thursday as he unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to tackle the virus and revive the pandemic-hit economy.

The Democrat, who takes office on Wednesday, is expected to set out in more detail his plan to stem the coronavirus that has killed more than 385,000 people in the United States and infected nearly 7% of the population.

He will set out the plan on Friday afternoon near his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Where is my second stimulus check: what to do if you haven't received it after January 15

We outline some courses of action to consider if you have not received your stimulus payment after the IRS' January 15 deadline.

What could Trump be charged with after impeachment?

The House has impeached president Trump a second time this week. Once tried in the Senate, other criminal charges could then be brought against him.

 

Second round of PPP loans: how much and who is eligible?

The second round of Paycheck Protection Program puts an emphasis on underserved businesses, but all eligible businesses under 500 employees can apply.

Hello and welcome 

​​​​​​Hello and welcome as we begin our live blog this Friday morning, 15 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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