$1,400 third stimulus check: news summary for 23 January

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US third stimulus check updates: Saturday 23 January

Headlines

- President Biden signs executive order on the coronavirus pandemic and economy

- Biden uses executive authority to fund 'food stamp' increase and retroactive stimulus check payments

- Treasury to create new online portal to help make it easier to receive stimulus checks

- Stimulus check of up to $1,400 in new president's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan

- Senate impeachment trial for former President Trump to begin week of 8 February

- An estimated 8 million eligible Americans are still yet to receive at least one of their stimulus checks

- Democrats drafting bill to provide $300-per-child monthly checks to parents

- Republican Senators Collins and Romney question the need for additional stimulus spending

- US covid cases/deaths: >24.8 million / >414,000 (live updates)

Related articles:

Newsom indicates Golden State stimulus could come soon

California Governor Gavin Newsom says in a video on social network Tik Tok in reference toa new $600 stimulus for some Calirfornians "we could get this done in the next few weeks."

All you need to know about "Golden State" stimulus

Early January Governor Gavin Newsom of California proposed an extra lifeline on state level for those most in need of economic help due to the pandemic.

Read the full story:

A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. ... Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted. Job losses are mounting again. We need to act. No matter how you look at it, we need to act,

Joe Biden, President of the United States

SNAP food stamps: how to get them

President Biden has signed an order expanding the food stamp (SNAP) scheme for families at risk of going hungry. Are you eligible and how can you apply?

Plan emerging to acquire more speciality syringes to maximise on Pfizer vaccine doses

Soon after the government authorised the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in December, pharmacists discovered that a small amount of extra vaccine in every five-dose vial shipped by Pfizer amounted to a full additional dose.

For a nation desperate to get back to normal, the development was seemingly good news: here was a path to expedite additional shots. On 6 January, Pfizer won an amendment to its Food and Drug Administration authorisation reflecting that each vial in its shipments contained six shots – an instant 20-per-cent increase.

But as with many aspects of the vaccine rollout, complications arose, dampening enthusiasm.

Squeezing all six doses out of the Pfizer vials requires the use of special syringes that are in short supply. As a result, the sixth dose is often discarded, trapped in the small dead space in regular syringes, where the syringe's stopper cannot reach it to plunge into a human arm.

Joe Biden highlighted the urgent need to produce more of the specialty syringes – called low-dead-space syringes, because they are more efficient – in his pandemic response plan unveiled this week. His administration said it plans to use the Defence Production Act to procure more of them.

What has happened to Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill?

After signing a number of executives orders President Joe Biden is hoping that the American Rescue Plan will provide the covid-19 economic relief needed.

Read the full story:

Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan "nonstarter" for some Senate Republicans

Senate Republican opposition to President Joe Biden's new $1.9 trillion stimulus plan has escalated since Inauguration Day, with some indicating that the Democratic leader has not yet attempted to reach out to negotiate a bipartisan deal.

On January 14, Biden unveiled a sweeping relief proposal that includes a third stimulus check of $1,400, $160 billion in additional funding for an aggressive national vaccination program, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and increasing federal unemployment payments from $300 a month to $400.

Earlier this week, moderate Republicans indicated that it may be too soon to pass another large stimulus package. "We just passed a program with over $900 billion in it," Senator Mitt Romney of Utah said. "I'm not looking for a new program in the immediate future."

When could the third stimulus check be approved?

When could the third stimulus check payment happen?

Congress is currently working through confirmation of President Biden's cabinet picks and Trump's impeachment trial is set to begin from 8 February. But despite the busy schedule Biden will be eager to get his new covid-19 economic relief bill on the floor for debate as soon as possible. 

Included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is a third round of stimulus checks, this time worth up to $1,400 per person, which has proved to be unpopular amongst some in the Senate. A number of GOP Senators have criticised the proposed spending and there could be a considerable delay, with much negotiation required, before the checks can be distributed. 

Here's everything you need to know about the state of play for the next round of direct stimulus payments...

Biden promises "swift action" to address the pandemic

An effective covid-19 response was one of the cornerstones of Biden's successful presidential campaign and he has wasted little time in implementing new measures to tackle the public health and economic crisis. In his first days in office Biden has signed executive orders providing greater funds for vaccine distribution and 'food stamp' benefits programmes. 

But while the 19 execuitve orders signed so far represent a good start the pressure is on for him to pass the more far-reaching elements of his agenda. His flagship economic relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan, is expected to be tabled in Congress in the coming weeks and could provide up to $1.9trn in federal funding if passed. 

That enormous burst of spending would provide a third round of stimulus checks worth $1,400 and $400-per-week unemployment benefits, alongside a whole host of other programmes. 

New online tool introduced to get outstanding stimulus check payments out to those in need

As part of President Biden's attempts to offer immediate support for those suffering through the economic consequences of covid-19, a new online portal will be created to get stimulus checks out to anyone who is still yet to receive either their first or second payment. It is thought that around 8 million eligible Americans have not yet received the full amount. 

“We cannot, will not, let people go hungry,” Biden told reporters gathered at the White House yesterday. “We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves. We cannot watch people lose their jobs. We have to act.”

Biden to up federal workers' hourly minimum wage to $15

Included in the executive orders the President signed on Friday was a measure which will pave the way for the minimum wage for federal employees and associated contractors to be raised to $15-per-hour, more than doubling the current rate. Upon signing the executive orders Biden said that the move was part of an “all-of-government” solution to “the growing hunger crisis”.

The orders will serve as precursor to the large-scale coronavirus stimulus package that Biden hopes to pass in the coming weeks. The bill contains funding to extend the additional unemployment benefits until September and for a third round of stimulus checks worth $1,400. 

Golden State Stimulus package announced in California

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California has announced a state-wide economic relief package that will see California residents sent $600 stimulus checks to tide them over until the next federal bill is passed. The money will go to around 4 million Californias who would usually receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. 

The proposal was first publicised in early January but it took some time for the necessary state funding to be approved. It is thought that the $600 checks will begin distribution in the coming days, although no fixed date has yet been agreed. 

GOP lawmakers unsure on Biden's stimulus package

The $1.9trn American Rescue Plan proposed by President Biden shortly before he entered the White House looks to be facing some opposition from Republican Senators. In recent days Senators Mitt Romney and Susan Collins had both expressed concern with the size of the bill, which includes the additional $1,400 stimulus checks, and suggested they would vote against it. 

Potentially joining their opposition to the package is Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who described it as "significant," giventhat "the ink is barely dry on the $900 billion" bill. She told reporters: "it’s going to require, I think, a fair amount of debate and consideration," suggesting that the next round of stimulus checks is unlikely to appear anytime soon. 

$3,000/$3,600 child tax credit: how would it work?

As part of his American Rescue Plan, a $1.9tn proposed coronavirus relief package, US President Joe Biden has called for eligible families to receive an increased child tax credit.

Full details:

Sen. Manchin now in favour of third wave of stimulus checks

Shortly before taking office President Biden unveiled his covid-19 relief bill proposal which promised an additional round of $1,400 stimulus checks, to top up the $600 payments made in January. The package, known as the American Rescue Plan, will likely need the support of all Democrat Senators if it is to pass, but one had spoken out against it. 

Senator Joe Manchin of West Viriginia had said of the proposal: "I don’t know where in the hell $2,000 came from,” adding “can’t we start some infrastructure program to help people, get ‘em back on their feet? Do we have to keep sending checks out?”

But after an advertising campaign in his home state criticised his comments, Manchin has reversed his decision and now seems in favour of direct payments. He recently told reporters that it was a top priority, saying: “we gotta get more money out.” 

When will the new unemployment benefits arrive?

President Biden's American Rescue Plan would provide $400 per week of additional federal unemployment benefits, but it may take some time to arrive.

Full details:

Dem lawmakers working on child tax credit worth at least $3,000 a year

In case you missed it, the Washington Post’s Jeff Stein reported on Friday that Democratic legislators are working on a plan to implement a permanent child tax credit worth $3,000 or more per year.

Under the proposal, families would stand to receive $300 a month for every child under the age of six ($3,000 a year), and $250 a month for children between six and 17 ($3,600 a year).

The tax credit was included in Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a $1.9tn proposed coronavirus relief bill, but as part of this package the scheme would only last for 12 months.

Deese

US needs "decisive" economic action - White House National Economic Council chief

Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, says the US must take "decisive action" to aid its economy as President Joe Biden seeks to get his American Rescue Plan, a $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill which includes a stimulus check of up to $1,400, through Congress.

"If we don’t act now, we will be in a much worse place and we will find ourselves needing to do much more to dig out of a much deeper hole," Deese told a White House briefing on Friday.

"The single most important thing economically right now is to take decisive action along the lines of what we’ve laid out in this rescue plan."

Deese added: "Just one example of an independent analysis of the American Rescue Plan [is one] that was carried out by Moody’s. What they found was that if we pass the American Rescue Plan now, we could see 7.5 million jobs created just this year and we could see a return to full employment a full year ahead of what is projected if we don’t.

"Those are the stakes involved."

(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

When could the third stimulus check happen?

US President Joe Biden has included a third stimulus check in his $1.9tn American Rescue Plan - but this fresh round of direct payments may not get the go-ahead for another couple of months.

Full story:

Amanda Gorman "overjoyed, privileged, humbled" by appearance

Amanada Gorman's reading of "The Hill We Climb" - definitely worth another watch.

Senate confirms Lloyd Austin, the first Black US defense secretary

The Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin as the nation's first Black defense secretary, the second nominee of President Joe Biden to be confirmed by the chamber. Austin, 67, is a retired Army general who will be the first Black secretary of defense. He was the first Black general to command an Army division in combat and also the first to oversee an entire theater of operations as the commanding general of US forces in Iraq.

Misinformation dropped 73% the week after Twitter banned Trump 

Online misinformation about election fraud plunged 73% after several social media sites suspended the accounts of President Donald Trump and a number of key allies last week, research firm Zignal Labs has found, The Washington Post reports.

Stimulus checks are “critical” to provide relief to struggling Americans

Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, believes that stimulus checks are “critical” to provide relief to Americans who are struggling as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Speaking to CNN, Bernstein replied to Larry Summer's warning that dishing out 2,000 stimulus checks would "overheat" the situation.

"I think we have to distinguish between 'heat' and 'overheat'. By overheating, Larry is talking about the possibility of inflation really taking off. We have an unemployment rate which is almost twice what it was before this crisis, and if you look at the unemployment rate for blacks, for latinx persons, it's in double digits - or close to it. So we have a lot of unused capacity, we've poverty out there, we've got hunger out there, we've got people facing evictions and homelessness. These checks are critical to get to them for relief purposes and with inflation running well below 2% for almost a decade now, we need to generate heat - that's not going to be overheat".  

Trump

Timeline to Trump's impeachment trial in US Senate

Former President Donald Trump's trial in the US Senate will start in the week of 8 February, Senate leaders said on Friday, following his impeachment in the House of Representatives earlier this month on a charge of inciting an insurrection.

House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the charge against Trump stemming from his incendiary speech to supporters before they stormed the U.S. Capitol on 6 January would be presented to the Senate at 7 p.m. EST (midnight GMT) on Monday by members of the House acting as prosecutors in the trial. Senators, who will act as jurors, will be sworn in the next day, and the two sides will have a period to prepare for the trial, Schumer said, while the Senate deals with other business including confirming President Joe Biden's Cabinet nominees and considering a Covid-19 relief bill.

"Then, once the briefs are drafted, presentations by the parties will commence the week of February 8th," said Schumer, a Democrat. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said McConnell was glad that Schumer had 'agreed to Republicans’ request for additional time during the pre-trial phase,' and that the trial could begin on 9 February.

Below is the agreement on the timeline according to McConnell's spokesman: Monday, 25 January: Exhibition of article

Tuesday, 26 January: Swearing-in of Senators, issuance of summons

Tuesday, 2 February: • Due date for President’s answer to article • Due date for House’s pre-trial brief

Monday, 8 February: • Due date for President’s pre-trial brief • Due date for House’s replication to answer

Tuesday, 9 February: Due date for House’s pre-trial rebuttal brief (Trial can begin)

Biden to provide 'food stamp' boost

As the covid-19 economic crisis continues to worsen President Joe Biden has signed two executive orders aimed at helping vulnerable workers and struggling families.

Read more:

Prospects of convicting Trump are "slim"

The path in the Senate to convict Donald Trump is extremely slim, with a growing number of Republicans expressing confidence that the party will acquit the former President on a charge that he incited the deadly insurrection aimed at stopping President Joe Biden's electoral win.

After Democratic leaders announced they would kick off the process to begin the impeachment trial on Monday, Republicans grew sharply critical about the proceedings -- and made clear that they saw virtually no chance that at least 17 Republicans would join with 50 Democrats to convict Trump and also bar him from ever running from office again.

Biden

New executive orders offer financial boost for struggling families

As the public health crisis in the US continues to worsen so too does the economic situation, with 30 million American households struggling to put food on the table at some point in the last month. Biden's proposed $1.9trn covid-19 relief bill will hopefully provide the stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits required, but the President has taken decisive action to protect those most at risk. 

In two executive orders signed on Friday Biden has secured a federal increase for food stamps and support for children who would normally receive free school meals. Here's everything you need to know about the new developments.  

Stimulus check and US latest news: welcome

Welcome to our live blog bringing you all the latest information on the proposed third round of stimulus checks, as well as live US political news that may affect it.

The focus over the past few days was on the departure of President Donald Trump from the White House and President Joe Biden's inauguration. But now that the veteran Democrat politician is in the hot seat, it's time to get down to business and get things moving...

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