$1,400 third stimulus check news summary: 25 January

Headlines

- Stimulus check of up to $1,400 in new president's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (when could it arrive?)

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

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

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

- Growing number of GOP Senators publicly oppose the stimulus bill

- Biden pushing for $50bn Covid-19 testing programme

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

- Biden to impose South Africa travel ban to combat new covid-19 variant

- USA surpasses 25 million confirmed covid-19 cases

- Dem. lawmakers draft bill to provide $300-per-child monthly checks to parents

- US covid cases/deaths: >25.1 million / >419,215 (live updates)

- House to send impeachment article against Trump to Senate

Related articles:

US Senate votes overwhelmingly to confirm Yellen as first female Treasury chief

Janet Yellen won overwhelming Senate confirmation as the first female U.S. Treasury secretary on Monday, setting her quickly to work with Congress on coronavirus relief, reviewing US sanctions policy and strengthening financial regulation.

Yellen will play a key role in working with Congress on Biden's coronavirus stimulus plans and on his pledges to invest $2 trillion in infrastructure, green energy projects, education and research to boost American competitiveness.

Treasury will oversee Biden's plans to help finance these initiatives by raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% and increase taxes on those making over $400,000 a year.

Republicans have expressed concerns over the price tag and increased debt in a return to fiscal conservatism after running up deficits during Trump's term with the 2017 tax cuts and nearly $5 trillion in coronavirus spending.

stocks

Asian stocks post biggest fall in 2 months on US stimulus worries

Asian stocks fell on Tuesday, retreating from record highs as lingering concerns about potential roadblocks to the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion stimulus weighed on sentiment, dragging US Treasury yields to three-weeks lows.

"You need to see delivery on the economic data front, on earnings and on enough vaccines being distributed," stated Vasu Menon, senior investment strategist at OCBC Bank Wealth Management, adding that uncertainty over the timing of the US stimulus package was damaging market sentiment.

Too hot to handle?

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief bill is designed to shore up finances until the pandemic is over, one investor fears it will overheat the market. 

Read full the story:

Power sharing agreement at hand 

An agreement to allow the Democrats to take control of key committees looks set to move forward. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had been holding up the transfer of power to the Democrats demanding that they promise not to dismantle the filibuster. After two moderate Democratic senators recently reaffirmed their position against eliminating the rule McConnell gave his thumbs up to the power-sharing arrangement proposed based on the 2001 model during the last 50-50 Senate. The chamber's committees will have equal representation of both parties, and tie votes on legislation and nominations will go to the floor.

America will be safer

President Biden fulfilled a campaign promise on Monday overturning a ban on transgender people serving in the US military imposed by former President Trump.

Read the full story:

Tax breaks for billionaires are handouts. Tax deductions for the fossil fuel industry are handouts. Subsidies for pharma corporations, tech companies, and defense contractors are handouts. Survival checks and expanded unemployment benefits are not handouts.
 

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor

House delivers articles of impeachment

In a solemn procession the nine House Impeachment Managers walked over to the Senate shortly after 7 pm Monday to deliver the single article against Trump.

This began the process for Trump’s second impeachment, senators will be sworn in as jurors on Tuesday and Trump will receive the official summons.

The official trial proceedings will be delayed until the week of 8 February under a timeline first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and later approved by Biden. 

Biden open to more targeted stimulus checks 

Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief proposal included direct payments of $1,400 per person but did not specify income limits. The assumption was that his plan would follow the previous frameworks authorizing full payments for individuals with incomes of up to $75,000. However some lawmakers have expressed concerns that the payments might not be targeted enough to those most in need.  

At an event on Monday where he signed an executive order aimed at increasing federal procurement of American-made goods, Biden said he's willing to discuss what the income eligibility requirements should be in a new bill.

First woman Secretary of Treasury

Janet Yellen will be the 78th Secretary of the Treasury and the first women to run the agency in US history.

Covid-19 travel restrictions

Much of Europe, Brazil and South Africa will be included in a travel ban expected to come into force Monday curb the spread of new variants of covid-19.

Read the full story:

Twitter launches crowd-sourced fact-checking scheme

Twitter is enlisting its users to help combat misinformation on its service by flagging and notating misleading and false tweets.

The pilot program unveiled Monday, called Birdwatch, allows a preselected group of users — for now, only in the U.S. — who sign up through Twitter. Those who want to sign up must have a U.S.-based phone carrier, verified email and phone number, and no recent Twitter rule violations.

Twitter said it wants both experts and non-experts to write Birdwatch notes. It cited Wikipedia as a site that thrives with non-expert contributions.

“In concept testing, we’ve seen non-experts write concise, helpful and easy-to-understand notes, often citing valuable expert sources,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Why you won't see a Budweiser commercial on Super Bowl Sunday

From funny frogs and heartwarming dogs to classic Clydesdale horses pulling a Budweiser carriage, the beer brand often created a buzz among Super Bowl watchers, but this year the company will not be part of commercial breaks during the big game.

Budweiser is among the first brands to create a film and donation in lieu of advertising airtime for the Ad Council and a public health initiative, Covid Collaborative’s covid-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.

Stimulus jitters dent Wall Street's early gains; Nasdaq hits record

Major U.S. averages on Monday closed well off their best levels of the day, which included a Nasdaq record, as concerns over the timing and size of fiscal stimulus dented optimism at the start of a week of earning reports from mega-cap companies.

Investors turned their focus to the U.S. Senate, which is aiming to pass covid-19 relief legislation before former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins in early February.

Officials in President Joe Biden’s administration are trying to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal is too expensive.

Watch LIVE: President Biden discusses American manufacturing

California coronavirus: stay at home order lifting

California lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state Monday in response to improving coronavirus conditions, returning the state to a system of county-by-county restrictions, state health officials announced. CBS San Francisco reports the move opens the way for a return to limited restaurant dining, religious services and other activities. Governor Gavin Newsom will respond to the lifted order Monday afternoon.

Trump vs. Biden: whose stimulus package is bigger?

From the first stimulus check via the CARES Act, through December's bill and the American Rescue Plan, what’s the difference between what Biden and Trump offer?

Read the full story:

Senator Romney: total cost of Biden's third stimulus package is "pretty shocking"

The Hill: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Sunday called the total cost of President Biden's coronavirus relief package – $1.9 trillion – “pretty shocking,” though he expressed openness to considering portions of the White House's proposal.

"Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace asked Romney if there were any parts of Biden’s plan he would consider, noting that Romney had said he was not in favor of passing another stimulus following the $900 billion bill that was signed into law in December.

“I think that's very possible,” said Romney. “We’ll listen to representatives of the White House today to understand their perspective, but if there are places that we missed in our proposal, we are happy to pick that up.

Will there be a third stimulus payment before February?

There is a proposed $1.9tn coronavirus economic relief package included in US President Joe Biden's plans, and doubts remain over the another round of payments.

Biden overturns ban on transgender people serving in the US military

President Joe Biden on Monday overturned a controversial ban by his predecessor on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military, a move that fulfils a campaign promise and will be cheered by LGBTQ advocates.

“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity,” the White House said in a statement.

REUTERS

Moderna vaccine appears to work against variants

The BBC explains how the vaccines work, and why it may be more effective on some strains than others.

Moderna is also currently testing whether giving a third booster shot might be beneficial.

What's happening with the third stimulus check package?

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.

Georgia voters feel betrayed by Democrats promise of $2000 stimulus checks

Georgia voters who just recently delivered the Democratic Party control of the US Senate by electing Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff say they feel betrayed by both senators who specifically promised $2,000 stimulus checks in their campaign - a promise which they say has been broken as Joe Biden’s proposal only calls for an additional $1,400 stimulus payment. 

A CNN article from 4 January reported on an election-eve rally in Atlanta for Warnock and Ossoff with the headline: “Biden says electing Georgia’s Ossoff and Warnock would lead to $2,000 stimulus checks.”

 

$3,000/$3,600 child tax credit: how would stimulus payment 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.

Read more

Not received a stimulus check and tax number has expired?

It is estimated that around 8 million Americans did not receive their $1200 stimulus check as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. Those that missed the 15 January deadline may have to claim all or part of the missing amount when filing federal tax returns for 2020 through the Recovery Rebate Credit.

However, some claimants' Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) expired on 31 December 2020. The IRS have urged those whose ITIN has expired to renew their number now to avoid any delays in the processing of your return when the tax season starts on Friday 12 February. 

If your ITIN has expired, you can submit your renewal application here:

IRS second stimulus check tracker tool

The deadline has now passed for the IRS to send you your second stimulus check, but their free and easy tracker tool can provide you with payment status.

More information

Biden brings in new White House physician

Joe Biden has commissioned Dr Kevin O’Connor as his new White House doctor, ABC News reports. O’Connor, who has been Mr Biden’s physician since 2009, will replace former president Donald Trump’s doctor Sean Conley, who was mocked back in October for his analysis of Trump’s health after the former president was hospitalised after contracting coronavirus. 

According to Dr. Lud Deppisch it is standard procedure for a president to choose their own personal physician, but it is not very common for a newly sworn-in president to hire a doctor who has cared for them for over a decade.

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines, the New York Times reports.

Cohen suggests Trump may have secretly pardoned himself and his children

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said that the former president might have issued secret pardons to himself and his children during his tenure, which he will reveal if he is indicted. Cohen told MSNBC that he has a feeling that Trump may have already pardoned himself, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his children to save themselves from criminal conviction.

UK B.1.1.7. Covid-19 variant in 23 US states

As the US hit another stark milestone this weekend with 25 million positive cases of Covid/19 infections, came reports that the new highly contagious UK variant, known as B.1.1.7. has been detected in at least 23 US states. It is believed that the B.1.1.7. variant is 50% more transmissible than other variants.

 

Biden

Biden pushes elusive 'Buy American' goal with new federal contract guidelines

Later today, President Joe Biden will take steps to harness the purchasing power of the United States government, the world's biggest single buyer, to increase domestic manufacturing and create markets for new technologies, a senior administration official said.

Biden will sign an executive order aimed at closing loopholes in existing 'Buy American' provisions, which structure the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys each year, making any waivers more transparent, and creating a senior White House role to oversee the process Increasing US manufacturing, a central tenet of Biden's presidential campaign, has proven a vexing challenge for previous administrations, including that of former President Donald Trump.

Lower wages and weaker environmental standards have triggered the exodus of key manufacturing capabilities to China and other countries in recent decades, including medical equipment, resulting in critical gaps laid bare during the Covid-19 pandemic. China overtook the United States as the world’s top manufacturer in 2010, and was responsible for 28% of global output in 2018, according to United Nations data. Rebuilding critical supply chains and developing new ones is critical to US growth, trade experts say.

The US trade deficit surged to $68 billion in November, its highest level in 14 years, as businesses scrambled to fill shelves with foreign goods and supply domestic factories reliant on foreign parts, offsetting a rise in exports.

The order directs federal agencies to reevaluate the threshold used to determine US content, to prevent companies it buys from from importing largely foreign-made goods and selling them as US-made after making just minor tweaks. It sets a deadline of 180 days for regulators to finalize changes once proposed, and orders up a new website to ensure transparency about any waivers granted. 

Trump

US House to bring Trump incitement charge to Senate, launching second impeachment trial

The US House of Representatives on Monday will formally charge ex-President Donald Trump with inciting insurrection in a fiery speech to his followers before this month's deadly attack on the Capitol, signaling the start of his second impeachment trial.

Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors will proceed through the building where hundreds of Trump supporters fought with police, leaving five dead, at about 7 p.m. on Monday (0000 GMT), carrying the article of impeachment to the Senate where Trump will face trial.

A similar ceremony was carried out for Trump's first impeachment trial last January, when the House clerk and sergeant at arms led a small procession of lawmakers through a hushed Capitol. It will mark two historic firsts - Trump is the only US president to have been impeached by the House twice and will be the first to face trial after leaving office. Conviction in the Senate could result in a vote to ban him from holding future office.

Leaders of the Senate, which is divided 50-50 with Democrats holding a majority because of the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, have agreed not to start the trial until 9 February. That gives Trump more time to prepare a defense and allows the chamber to focus on President Joe Biden's early priorities, including Cabinet appointments.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney told CNN on Sunday that the trial was necessitated by Trump's inflammatory call to his supporters. "I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?" said Romney, a frequent Trump critic and the only Republican to vote to convict him at his first impeachment trial.

But a significant number of Republican lawmakers have raised objections to the impeachment. Senator Marco Rubio pronounced the trial "stupid" and "counterproductive" on Fox News Sunday. "We already have a flaming fire in this country and it's like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire," Rubio said. 

When will Donald Trump's impeachment trial begin?

After the US House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump when he was still president, thoughts turned to when the trial in the Senate would take place.

Read more:

Biden is set to sign a "Made in America" executive order

President Joe Biden is set to sign a "Made in America" executive order today, in a pledge to increase the amount of federal spending reserved for American companies, ABC News reports. “The goal is to make sure that companies can't undermine or get around the purpose of the Made in America rules by importing largely foreign made products, making modest changes or tweaks on shore that add little value for American workers or American industry, don't actually utilize America's manufacturing capabilities, and will also close loopholes so that content rules drive new opportunities for American businesses and workers,” a senior administration official explained.

Officials unsure how much Covid-19 vaccine is currently available

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky has admitted that the federal government is not certain about how much vaccine is currently available and some states could struggle to replenish limited supplies. 

“One of the biggest problems right now is I can't tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can't tell it to you then I can't tell it to the governors and I can't tell it to the state health officials," Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Fox News Sunday.  "The supply is probably going to be the most limiting constraint early on. We're really hoping that after that first 100 days we'll have much more production".

Biden's new proposal could be worth thousands to struggling families

Changes to the child tax credit allowance would see parents given up to $300-a-month to help struggling families through the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: 

"Trump will go down in history with the likes of Adolf Hitler" - Spike Lee

Film director Spike Lee had scathing words to say about former President Donald Trump as he accepted an award via video-link at the 86th annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Sunday. In a pre-recorded message, Lee said, "You know what, we are living in a very serious time in America. All of us as true Americans have to really think about what’s important. There’s no way possible to go before the iPhone and thank you guys without telling you what’s in my heart and soul as a descendent of slaves who helped build this country. The whole world is laughing at the United States, the so-called cradle of democracy. We’re at the crossroads now. And everyone please be safe, this is not a game. These people got guns with ammunition. This president, President Agent Orange, will go down in history with the likes of Hitler. These guys, all his boys, they are going down on the wrong side of history".

Possible three-figure fines for those flouting face mask 

Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating interstate travellers to wear a face mask, and on his first day in office, he challenged Americans to wear masks for 100 days to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. According to CNN, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to outline policies in line with Biden's travel order for travelers to wear masks while in airports, on planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses, mass transit and passenger rail systems within the next two weeks.

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.

President Joe Biden begins his first full week at the Oval Office while the article of impeachment against Donald Trump for inciting the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol is expected to be sent to the Senate at some point today.

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