$1,400 third stimulus check: news summary for 27 January

$1,400 third stimulus check today: when to expect, Biden relief plan and IRS payment | Live updates

US stimulus check news and latest updates: live

Stimulus checks "better targeted than I think many folks realize"

White House economist Jared Bernstein on Wednesday defended the eligibility requirements used in the two stimulus checks sent out so far, saying the direct payments are “better targeted than I think many folks realize”.

"It’s not just folks at the bottom who need the money," Bernstein said, per Bloomberg, adding that many middle-class Americans "face issues around rent and mortgage payments".

Bernstein’s comments come amid opposition from Republican lawmakers, and some more moderate Democratic congressionals, to the cost of distributing a third round of stimulus checks unless eligibility is narrowed to a smaller section of the US population.

Individuals earning up to $75,000 and married couples on up to $150,000 per year qualified for the full amount in the first two rounds of stimulus checks.

President Joe Biden, who has included a proposed payment of up to $1,400 in his $1.9 American Rescue Plan, has signaled a willingness to be flexible on the eligibility income thresholds applied to the check, telling reporters on Monday: "There's legitimate reason for people to say, 'Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way? Should it go to anybody making over X number of dollars or Y?’ I’m open to negotiate those things."

How will the third stimulus check be different?

At the beginning of the year the majority of voices were calling for another round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) after just having approved a second direct payment of $600 to every eligible adult and child. The general idea was to send out a top-up $1400 stimulus check to raise the total amount to $2000.

Since then, analysis of how the money was used has called into question if the funds were being used effectively to prop up the economy. The Democrats have confirmed that President Biden's proposed economic relief bill would see eligibility broadened to get money to more people than in previous rounds of payment. But there is growing opposition in Congress who believe that stimulus checks are not an effective use of federal funds. 

"Marshall Plan for Moms" calls for $2,400 monthly stimulus payments

A group of over 50 prominent women, including actresses Charlize Theron, Amy Schumer and Eva Longoria, have signed a letter calling for additional financial assistance to be extended to mothers. The letter was written by founder and CEO of Girls Who Code Reshma Saujani, who suggests a "Marshall Plan for Moms" which includes new policies addressing parental leave, affordable childcare, and pay equity.

Also included in the package is a proposal for $2,400 monthly stimulus payment for mothers, after evidence has shown that women and poorer families have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. In a separate post, Girls Who Code tweeted "Moms have left the workforce in droves since the pandemic started. They deserve to be paid for their labor."

New stimulus bill could be passed using 'reconciliation'

To breech a potential standstill in the Senate, Democrats are considering using the process of 'reconciliation' to pass the new covid-19 relief bill. The package, proposed by President Biden earlier this month, includes a third round of stimulus checks and a substantial extension to federal unemployment benefits. 

Budget reconciliation would allow them to bypass the 60-vote supermajority usually required to pass a bill of this size. Instead a simply majority would be enough and as the Democrats hold a slender lead in the Upper House they should be able to secure the vote. 

Adult dependents to be included in next round of stimulus checks

The status of adult dependents has been a matter of controversy in previous covid-19 economic relief bills, as millions of students and other young people have been unable to receive the stimulus checks offered to over 160 million Americans. In the past, adults counted as household dependents on the previous year's tax return have been disqualified. 

President Biden has proposed a new $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, which includes a round of $1,400 'top-up' payments. The official Twitter account of the Democratic Party have confirmed that the new payments will be available to adult dependents. However they face a battle in Congress to get a bill of this size passed and it has not yet been officially introduced on the floor. 

Powell is okay with more stimulus 

There has been concern that injecting more money into the US economy could cause it to overheat and lead to inflation. However Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell dismissed concerns that further fiscal support could boost inflation. He feels that the US economy is a long way from recovery and still faces “considerable risks.” 

The US economy is expected to grow with expectations that it will reach its pre-coronavirus level in 2021. GOP lawmakers have been hesitant about passing more stimulus right away worried about the national debt getting out of control and causing inflation, hurting the recovery. 

“I'm much more worried about falling short of a complete recovery and losing peoples' careers and lives and the damage that will do to productive capacity than about the possibility of higher inflation,” Powell said.

Make your voice heard if you want stimulus checks

Stimulus checks are just one of the many things on the new administration's plate at the moment. Every day this week Joe Biden has tackled a different issue facing the US. Today was climate change with three new executive actions. For now a third round of stimulus checks are in negotiations but the date for them to go out looks set to be pushed back, perhaps into March.

Biden speeding up vaccinations 

President Joe Biden expects that almost all of the US population will be vaccinated by the start of the fall, which would spell the end of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read the full story:

Make the billionaires pay for the stimulus

The coronavirus induced economic crisis that is affecting the US and the world has been especially hard on the middle- to low-income parts of society. Instead of a V-shaped recovery, the US is seeing a K-shaped recovery with the higher earners benefiting from the crisis by a very large amount. The amount of increased wealth gained over the crisis would pay for over half of Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Stimulus checks moving markets

Small traders have been organizing online to take on hedge funds that are placing short bets on companies like GameStop and AMC pushing the value of those company's stocks up triple digits. Elon Musk joined in the fray via twitter boosting the price of GameStop on Tuesday. 

The large fluctuations over the past month have caused trading authorities to suspend trading in those companies' stocks on several occasions and for large hedge funds to take a beating.

Biden’s envoy on climate change 

John Kerry spoke to the press about the scope and scale of climate change and how the Biden administration will approach it. President Biden is set to sign an executive order making climate change central to US foreign policy planning, diplomacy and national security preparedness and coordinate climate action across the federal agencies. 

The order will also have US intelligence agencies analyze security risks associated with climate change.  "President Biden is deeply committed, totally seized by this issue as you can tell by this executive order," Kerry said.

Part of Biden's plan to tackle the climate emergency domestically is through stimulus infrastructure programs to create green energy jobs. He proposes making the US energy grid 100 percent green by 2035.

Some eligible Americans may not receive a stimulus check 

There are 8 million Americans who may be eligible but still have not received the financial assistance from the Cares Act. It’s possible that stimulus payments still in the pipeline may not be delivered after all. The stimulus payments are an advance tax credit referred to on the 2020 1040 as a “Recovery Rebate Credit.” If those eligible owe back taxes and have to wait to claim the credit when they file their 2020 tax return, the money may be snatched to satisfy their tax bill.

Who will be eligible for a third stimulus check?

While the future of the American Rescue Plan and thus third stimulus check is uncertain, we can presume eligibility will be similar to previous checks.

Updates from Biden's coronavirus briefing

Updates from Biden's coronavirus briefing

Anthony Slavitt ran through some of the measures the Biden administration has taken to get more vaccines to people:

 - The US has exercised an option to purchase an additional 200 million doses of vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna, which will bring the total US supply to 600 million doses. That should be enough to vaccinate everyone older than 16.

- The administration increased vaccine distributions to states to 10 million per week, from 8.6 million per week, for the next three weeks.

- The administration will give states three weeks’ notice of upcoming vaccine allotments, to give them time to prepare.

Biden calls out anon. congressman who refuses to wear a mask

President Biden called out an unnamed congressman for not wanting to wear a mask, calling him unpatriotic, and highlighting that experts believe that 50,000 lives could be saved between now and April if all citizens masked up.

"Masks, not vaccines are the best defence against covid-19." Biden said.


January 2021 the deadliest month of the coronavirus pandemic in the US

In January 2021 so far, 80,098 Americans lost their lives to coronavirus, more than double the death toll before the holiday season in November 2020.

What's the hold up approving a third stimulus check?

The American Rescue Plan is currently Biden's and many Democrats’ best case scenario, but to pass through Congress it may need to become a hybrid proposal.

President Biden first coronavirus briefing at 11am

President Biden first coronavirus briefing at 11am

At 11am ET, we’re expecting Biden’s first covid-19 briefing. Heres what to expect.

(AP) - For nearly a year it was the Trump show. Now President Joe Biden is calling up the nation’s top scientists and public health experts to regularly brief the American public about the pandemic that has claimed more than 425,000 U.S. lives.

Beginning Wednesday, administration experts will host briefings three times a week on the state of the outbreak, efforts to control it and the race to deliver vaccines and therapeutics to end it.

Expect a sharp contrast from the last administration’s briefings, when public health officials were repeatedly undermined by a president who shared his unproven ideas without hesitation.

“We’re bringing back the pros to talk about covid in an unvarnished way,” Biden told reporters Tuesday. “Any questions you have, that’s how we’ll handle them because we’re letting science speak again.”

The new briefings, beginning just a week into Biden’s tenure, are meant as an explicit rejection of his predecessor’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak.

When could you expect a third stimulus check?

US President Joe Biden has pledged to give Americans a stimulus check of up to $1,400 as part of his $1.9tn proposed coronavirus relief bill.

Read the full story:

Russia says U.S. agreed to renew nuclear weapons pact "on our terms"

Russia's parliament ploughed ahead on Wednesday to ratify a bill extending the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States after the first phone call between President Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin announced on Tuesday that Russia and the U.S. had struck a deal to extend the treaty — the last arms control pact between the world's two biggest nuclear powers — which is set to expire on February 5.

Biden publishes clip of call with Nato General Secretary, reaffirms US commitment

There’s a markedly different tone in foreign relations coming out of the Biden administration already compared to his predecessor. This morning Joe Biden has published a clip of a call he had with Nato General Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and he didn’t appear to complain once about how much money the US spent on defence in Europe.

Instead, Biden said “I intend to rebuild and re-establish out alliances, starting with Nato. I strongly, strongly, strongly support our collective defence based on mutual democratic values. I want to re-affirm the United States’ commitment to article 5. It’s a sacred commitment.”

Article 5 provides that if a Nato member is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of Nato will consider this an armed attack against all members. It was invoked for the first time after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Via The Guardian

Could a third stimulus check arrive by February?

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

Read the full story:

In other news....

It’s the underdog tale involving $91 billion, a gaming retailer, an unlikely group of subreddit trolls and the world’s richest man, Elon Musk. 

Read the full story:

Golden State stimulus: can I apply for California check yet?

Earlier this month Governor Gavin Newsom of California proposed a bonus check at state level for those most in need of economic help due to coronavirus.

Full details:

Restricting stimulus-check eligibility could make sense, researchers say

New research suggests that targeting a third round of stimulus checks at the lowest-earning Americans could well be beneficial for the US economy.

According to a study by the non-profit organization Opportunity Insights, only 7% of individuals earning over $50,000 a year and couples on over $75,000 would spend check rather than saving it, meaning only a small fraction of the cost of distributing the payments would be put right back into the economy.

"Targeting the stimulus payments to lower-income households would both better support the households most in need and provide a large boost to the economy in the short run," said Opportunity Insights co-director John Friedman.

$3,000/$3,600 child tax credit: who would be eligible?

As part of his $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (ARP), President Biden has called for families to receive an increased child tax credit of up to $3,600 per dependent.

Read more:

Biden pledges to have 300m Americans vaccinated by fall

US President Joe Biden has vowed to get 300 million Americans vaccinated against covid-19 by "the end of the summer, beginning of the fall", saying his administration is taking steps to increase the country’s vaccine order by half.

“Today, I’m directing covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to increase our total supply of of vaccine for the American people,” Biden told a press conference on Tuesday.

“And we believe that we’ll soon be able to confirm the purchase of an addition 100 million doses for each of the two FDA-authorized vaccines - Pfizer and Moderna. That’s 100 million more doses of Pfizer and 100 million more doses of Moderna: 200 million more doses than the federal government has previously secured.”

Biden added: “We expect these additional 200 million doses to be delivered this summer […], and that increases the total vaccine order in the United States by 50%. From 400 million ordered to 600 million. This is enough vaccine to fully vaccinate 300 [million] Americans by the end of the summer, beginning of the fall."

Will Congress accept a third stimulus check before February?

US President Joe Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan includes a $1,400 third stimulus check, and many are wondering when that might reach them. new payment will not arrive before February, although the existing distribution continues.

Full details:

Third stimulus check: how much will couples, adults and children get?

Supporting families and businesses to survive and then recover from the coronavirus health and economic crisis is Joe Biden’s number one priority.

Full details:

Third stimulus check and US news: live updates

Hello and welcome to our live blog bringing you the latest information on the third stimulus check of up to $1,400 proposed in new US President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan.

We'll also keep you updated on other relief plans such as a child tax credit of up to $300 a month for qualifying households.