$1,400 third stimulus check: news summary for 28 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

Headlines

- Stimulus check of up to $1,400 in President Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (when could it be approved?)

- Biden "open" to negotiation over eligibility requirements for third check (full story)

- Progressive lawmakers call for recurring stimulus checks to be included in new legislation

- Sen. Schumer on GOP opposition to stimulus bill: "We will move forward without them"

- Proposal for increased child tax credit of up to $3,600 per dependent in stimulus plan (who would qualify?)

- Democrats confirm they are willing to use 'reconciliation' to ensure stimulus bill passes Congress

- Group of prominent women calls for $2,400 stimulus checks for mothers

- US covid cases/deaths: >25.5 million / >429,100 (live updates)

Headlines

- Stimulus check of up to $1,400 in President Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (when could it be approved?)

- Biden "open" to negotiation over eligibility requirements for third check (full story)

- Progressive lawmakers call for recurring stimulus checks to be included in new legislation

- Proposal for increased child tax credit of up to $3,600 per dependent in stimulus plan (who would qualify?)

- Democrats confirm they are willing to use 'reconciliation' to ensure stimulus bill passes Congress

- Group of prominent women calls for $2,400 stimulus checks for mothers

- US covid cases/deaths: >25.7 million / >433,100 (live updates)

Sen. Warren outlines need for new stimulus bill

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for more to be done to speed up the process of getting the next round of financial support out to the people who need it. President Biden's American Rescue Plan includes additional $400-per-week unemployment benefits and a third round of stimulus checks, worth up to $1,400. 

In the first week of Biden's presidency another 847,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits and it is expected to take years for the US jobs market to return to pre-pandemic levels. A group of progressive lawmakers have called on Biden to pass a bill providing monthly stimulus check payments to help those suffering most during the pandemic. 

By the end of the week we will be finished with the budget resolution, which will be about reconciliation if we need it [to pass the stimulus bill].

“I do think we have more leverage to get cooperation on the other side if they know we have an alternative,”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

Biden eager to see stimulus bill passed

As the US continues to battle against the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic President Biden has made clear that he believes that decisive action is needed. His covid-19 relief bill is still yet to be tabled in Congress and progressive voices from within his own party are calling for recurring stimulus checks to be included in the package. 

With Senate Republicans unwilling to back the proposal this looks like becoming the crucial issue of the early days of Biden's presidency, and one he seems determined to meet head-on. 

Biden told reporters: "Millions of people are out of work, unemployed, and future millions are being held back for no good reason other than our failure to act."

Action needed on Biden's coronavirus stimulus package

President Biden has called on Congress to move on his flagship economic relief bill, which he first announced before taking office earlier this month. THe package, known as the American Rescue Plan, contains $1.9 trillion in federal funding and includes a third round of stimulus check payments worth $1,400 per person. 

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office , Biden said: “We got a lot to do, and the first thing I’ve got to do is get this covid package passed."

Currently there appears to be too much Republican opposition to the bill in the Senate for it to be passed by bipartisan agreement, but the Democrats have confirmed that they are willing to utilise a Congressional mechanism known as reconciliation to pass the package without their support. Despite the 50/50 split in the chamber, the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris gives them a narrow advantage. 

Third stimulus check: eligibility for $1,400 payment could be narrowed

President Joe Biden's pledge to distribute stimulus checks of up to $1,400 has met with pushback from lawmakers keen to keep the cost of such a scheme down.

Full story:

Progressive lawmakers pressure Biden for recurring stimulus payments

A letter signed by over 50 lawmakers calls for Biden's covid-19 relief bill to include monthly direct payments, a proposal that the Vice President has previously supported. The President's attempts to find bipartisan support for his American Rescue Plan have fell short in recent days as a number of GOP Senators voice their opposition to his proposal. 

The letter in support of recurring payments refers to them as "survival checks" and calls on the government to do more to offer financial support as the economic consequences of the pandemic continue to spiral. 

Busy schedule in Congress likely to delay stimulus checks

Since entering the White House President Biden has introduced some policy changes through the use of executive orders but passing a large-scale covid relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, remains his number one goal.

Biden has promised decisive action to both limit the spread of the coronavirus and to reverse the damage it continues to do to the United States’ economy. When announcing the proposal Biden said the $1.9 trillion package would address the “growing divide between those few people at the very top who are doing quite well in this economy — and the rest of America.”

However for now there are other priorities in the Capitol with the new President needing to have his cabinet picks confirmed by the Senate. There is also the small matter of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which is scheduled to begin on the week starting 8 February. With all this going on it will take time for Biden’s proposal to even reach the floor.

Will Republicans support Biden's new stimulus bill proposal?

The American Rescue Plan is billed as a route of of poverty for millions of Americans but the Democrats may struggle to find support in the Senate after a number of GOP lawmakers have publically opposed it. 

Included in the $1.9 trillion package is another round of stimulus checks, greater funding for additional unemployment benefits and federal support for small businesses and local government. Biden believes it to be crucial to rescuing the American economy, but lawmakers on the other side of the aisle have voiced their opposition.

Progressive lawmakers call for recurring stimulus checks

President Biden remains hopeful that the majority of his $1.9 trillion economic relief bill can be passed in the coming weeks, but admitted that some concessions may be needed after facing strong opposition from Republican Senators.

However a group of progressive lawmakers have signed a letter calling for stimulus checks to be made into recurring payments, offering a monthly amount to each American to help them survive "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."

The letter, signed 56 House Democrats and led by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, reads: "We kindly request that your incoming administration consider including support for recurring cash payments in your future economic relief plans. Recurring payments would provide a longterm lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic."

New child tax credit proposal: dates and deadlines

President Joe Biden’s new covid-19 stimulus bill proposal includes provision to dramatically increase the amount offered to low-income families through the use of child tax credits. The year-long expansion of child tax credits is included in Biden’s flagship economic policy, known as the American Rescue Plan, which is expected to cost around $1.9 trillion.

"All told, the American Rescue Plan would lift 12 million Americans out of poverty and cut child poverty in half. That's 5 million children lifted out of poverty," Biden said last week, of the bill which also includes a round of $1,400 stimulus checks and additional unemployment benefits extended through September. 

Dems may consider 'trimming' stimulus bill

Senator Richard Blumenthal has called on Congress to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion as quickly as possible but admitted that the may be in favour of trimming some elements if it helps it to pass the Senate

He suggested that there could be some alterations made to the stimulus checks included in the package to make the support more targetted that it currently is. This would likely see the eligibility thresholds narrowed slightly to exclude some of the wealthiest recipients. 

But Sen. Blumenthal made clear that speed was his top priority to help those in need:  "It really cannot be delayed, we have a window of days, not weeks, to act."

What's the Biden tax plan? Who will pay more and who less?

President Biden has proposed major spending programs to pull the US out of the current economic crisis induced by the coronavirus pandemic. He also wants to make large investments in infrastructure and fighting climate change to build back America creating millions of new jobs.

All of this will cost money, part of which his administration expects to get through higher taxation on the wealthiest and corporations. Here's what to expect from the Biden administration's tax policy. 

Dems may turn to 'reconciliation' to pass new stimulus bill

The fate of President Biden's flagship economic policy, the American Rescue Plan, is hanging in the balance after a number of Republican Senators have said that they will vote against it. Usually a bill of this size would typically require a 60-vote 'supermajority' in the Upper House for it to be passed but Senate Minority Whip John Thune, the GOP's chief vote counter in the Senate, said it was unlikely:

“I don’t think it can get 60. Because even the people on our side that would be inclined to want to work with the administration on something like that, that price range is going to be out of range for them,” he said.

However the Democrats could use a Senate mechanism called 'reconciliation' to bypass the supermajority and allow the stimulus package to be passed with a simple majority. As the Democrats currently possess a slim majority (thanks to the tie-break vote of Senate President Kamala Harris) this could see the new bill passed and begin distribution for the $1,400 stimulus checks. 

New stimulus bill to widen child benefit requirements

The financial support given to families as part of the child tax credit programme could be increased for a full 12 months as part of a push to help those most affected by the pandemic. President Joe Biden has pledged to offer greater support to those suffering financially and the proposal is part of a $1.9 trillion covid-19 stimulus package announced earlier this month.

This temporary increase would see parents given up to $3,600-a-year for each eligible child dependent, which is likely to come as a monthly payment rather than tax rebate. But that amount is not fixed and the level of support you receive is dependent on a few factors.

A case for Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage 

Biden introduced his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan before his inauguration. Included in it is a third round of stimulus checks for $1400 this time to top up the $600 payments authorized in December. The plan also calls for extending $400 weekly unemployment payments through September and expanded tax credits for children. One of the measures in his proposal that has drawn the most blow back from Republicans is a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The Economic Policy Institute looks at the effect of the wage rise across the US.

Biden’s first nominee to face filibuster moves forward 

The Senate voted Thursday to break a GOP filibuster and advance the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be President Joe Biden's secretary of Homeland Security. Now that the nomination has successfully cleared that procedural hurdle, a final vote on confirmation is on track for Monday evening. 

Republicans objected to efforts to quickly install a critical leader of the country's national security apparatus arguing that the nominee hadn't been properly vetted on immigration issues and called for an additional hearing on his nomination. Mayorkas is the first Biden nominee who has met a Republican filibuster, which comes as the Department of Homeland Security grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, national security concerns and immigration.

Is the taxman coming for Robinhood traders? 

Millions people opened new brokerage accounts in 2020 dipping their toes into the investing pool for the first time. With the spectacular swings in valuations of retail stocks in the “short squeeze” inflicted on hedge funds by Reddit users, some have walked away with handsome profits while causing serious pain for the hedge funds. However, those and other new investors are realizing they could be on the hook for taxes and have to navigate the US tax code.  

When Americans get paid at work, taxes are usually withheld from their paychecks. Brokerages rarely do the same for gains on stocks and other investments. That can create a headache when taxes are due in April, especially if investors haven’t put enough money aside. Those who made big short-term gains in the market last year may owe a hefty check to the IRS and, depending on where they live, to their state tax collection agency.

Recurring stimulus checks?

With the US economy still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic there are calls to make the stimulus checks recurring until the end of the pandemic. 

Read the full story:

Biden signs two executive orders on healthcare 

- Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. 

This executive order will re-open enrollment to the Health Insurance Marketplace, take additional steps to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and protect women’s health. HealthCare.gov will open for a “Special Enrollment Period,” from February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021. It also directs federal agencies to reconsider rules and other policies that limit Americans’ access to health care, and consider actions that will protect and strengthen that access. 

- Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad. 

Across the country and around the world, people have been denied access to reproductive health care. This executive order will immediately rescind the global gag rule, also referred to as the Mexico City Policy, which bars international non-profits that provide abortion counseling or referrals from receiving U.S. funding. It also directs the Department of Health and Human Services to take immediate action to consider whether to rescind regulations under its Title X family planning program.

Millions more children eligible for tax credit 

Included in President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, the $1.9tn coronavirus relief package, is an extended child tax credit for qualifying families.

Read the full story:

If Democrats are to address the enormous crises facing working people, and keep faith with the campaign promises we made, we must go forward aggressively with the Senate reconciliation process. There is no alternative.  Now is the time for bold action.

Bernie Sanders, Vermont Senator (I)

MAGA supporter arrested near Capitol in DC with gun & ammunition, say reports

A 71-year-old MAGA supporter obsessed with baseless theories that the 2020 election was rigged has been arrested after authorities found him parked near the U.S. Capitol with a gun and 20 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

Dennis Westover, of South Charleston, West Virginia, was arrested on several charges, including possession of unregistered ammunition and unlawful possession of a firearm, at 1:58 p.m. on Wednesday by U.S. Capitol Police, according to a public incident report obtained by The Daily Beast.

Westover was stopped by police “in the middle of an intersection” just a few hundred feet from where lawmakers and staffers can enter the sprawling Rayburn House Office building, police said. 

The arrest was made on the same day that the Department of Homeland Security warned publicly for the first time that the United States faced a growing threat from “violent domestic extremists” emboldened by the attack on the Capitol on 6 January, said the New York Times.

Progressives push Biden for recurring stimulus checks

Politico: More than 50 House progressives are pushing President Joe Biden to prioritise recurring direct checks instead of one-time payments in the next rescue package, upping the demands on Democratic leaders in their race to draft a bill.

The group of House Democrats, led by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), sent a letter to the Biden administration on Thursday calling for regularly delivered checks through the end of the pandemic, rather than a single $1,400 payment that is likely to fall short of expenses like rent or mortgage payments.

Cuomo accused of grossly undercounting nursing home deaths in NY state

The New York Times's Jesse McKinley: The New York State attorney general accused the Cuomo administration of undercounting coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50 percent, according to a report released on Thursday.

The count of deaths in state nursing homes has been a source of controversy for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Health Department officials, who have been sensitive to any suggestion that they played any role in the number of nursing home deaths, which the state put at more than 8,500.

They have also been accused of obscuring a more accurate estimate of nursing home deaths, because the state only counted deaths at the actual facilities, rather than including deaths of residents who were transferred to a hospital and died there.

When could Golden State stimulus check be approved?

California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a pay out of $600 in stimulus checks to offer financial support to millions of residents with the lowest income along with an extension on eviction freezes, to ease the strain brought on by covid-19.

The bonus, first proposed earlier this month would be on top of the $600 approved by Congress and paid by the federal government in December.

Read the full story:

Biden's focus turns to healthcare today

President Biden will sign two executive actions Thursday that are designed to expand access to reproductive health care and health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

A presidential memorandum will instruct the Department of Health and Human Services to open a special enrolment period for the Affordable Care Act through HealthCare.gov, the federally run health insurance marketplace.

The enrolment period will run Feb. 15 to May 15, giving Americans who have lost their employer-based health insurance due to the pandemic an opportunity to sign up for coverage.

"For President Biden, this is personal," a news release read. "As we continue to battle covid-19, it is even more critical that Americans have meaningful access to affordable care."

Trump oversaw worst year of economic growth in US since WWII 

Trump oversaw worst year of economic growth in US since WWII 

Not since the Second World War has the US seen such low economic yearly growth as in 2020.

The fourth quarter figures that were released today is in stark contrast with the messaging adopted by Donald Trump, who claimed to have built the greatest economy in history.

Rachel Siegel and Andrew Van Dam write for the Washington Post:

"The economy shrank by 3.5 percent last year as the novel coronavirus upended American business and households, making 2020 the worst year for economic growth since 1946.

It is the first time the economy has contracted for the year since 2009, when Gross Domestic Product shrank by 2.5 percent during the depths of the Great Recession.

This is the last GDP report from former president Donald Trump’s tenure. Until the pandemic, Trump was on track for an economic record that put him near the middle of the pack among recent presidents.

But the covid-19 crisis has ensured that he is likely to have overseen the slowest economic growth of any president in the period since the Second World War."

Americans filing first-time unemployment claims down a fraction to 847,000

America's unemployment crisis is now President Joe Biden's problem, and jobless claims in his (partial) first week as president show how far the economy has to go to get back to normal.

Another 847,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Department of Labor. It was a decrease from the 914,000 claims in the week before.

On top of that, 426,856 workers filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program designed to provide aid to those not eligible for regular state benefits, such as gig workers. PUA claims are not adjusted for seasonal swings, according to CNN.

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 4% in the fourth quarter, following 33.4% growth in the previous quarter, when the economy bounced back after sharp declines earlier in the year caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the advance estimate from the US Commerce Department.

What could be eligibility requirements be for third stimulus check?

President Joe Biden's pledge to distribute stimulus checks of up to $1,400 has met with pushback from lawmakers keen to keep the cost of such a scheme down.

Long term covid symptoms could be similar to Ebola

Scientists are studying the similarities between long covid and ongoing symptoms experienced by survivors of Ebola and Chikungunya virus in the hope of devising new treatments to improve their health.

Like patients with long covid, survivors of these other, relatively new human viruses, often experience lingering symptoms which can make it difficult to work or function in everyday life.

For Ebola, roughly three-quarters of survivors are still experiencing symptoms a year after the initial infection, and sometimes for much longer – including joint and muscle pain, migraine-like headaches, visual problems and fatigue.

It’s a similar story for Chikungunya, a mosquito-transmitted virus that mostly affects people in African and Asian countries, causing fever and debilitating joint pain. Around a third of people go on to develop crippling arthritis that can last years, or other symptoms such as fatigue.

Third stimulus check: what proposals are in negotiation?

President Biden's American Rescue Plan will be the starting point for talks over another round of stimulus checks, but it may not pass in its current form.

Full story:

Taxing billionaires' 'windfall of wealth' would foot stimulus check bill - Reich

Amid opposition from some lawmakers over the cost of the proposed third round of stimulus checks, Robert Reich, a Berkeley University professor and former labor secretary, has urged the US government to introduce a new tax on the ‘windfall of wealth’ pocketed by America's 660 richest people since the coronavirus began.

"With their $1.1 trillion increase in wealth since March, America's 660 billionaires could give every one of the 331 million people in the United States a $3,400 stimulus check and still be billionaires," Reich tweeted on Wednesday. "Time for a COVID windfall wealth tax."

A reported released by the think tank the Institute for Policy Studies this month revealed that the US' 660 billionaires have seen their combined wealth rise from $3tn to $4.1tn since March 2020 - a 39% increase.

US economy likely logged weakest performance in 74 years in 2020

The US economy likely contracted at its sharpest pace since World War Two in 2020 as covid-19 ravaged services businesses like restaurants and airlines, throwing millions of Americans out of work and into poverty.

The Commerce Department's snapshot of fourth-quarter gross domestic product on Thursday is also expected to show the recovery from the pandemic losing steam as the year wound down amid a resurgence in coronavirus infections and exhaustion of nearly $3 trillion in relief money from the government.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark overnight interest rate near zero and pledged to continue injecting money into the economy through bond purchases, noting that "the pace of the recovery in economic activity and employment has moderated in recent months."

President Joe Biden has unveiled a recovery plan worth $1.9 trillion, and could use the GDP report to lean on some lawmakers who have balked at the price tag soon after the government provided nearly $900 billion in additional stimulus at the end of December.

"Last year was awful for the economy," said Sung Won Sohn, a finance and economics professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "This was the first service industry recession in recent memory where a lot of jobs were lost."

Economists are forecasting that the economy contracted by as much as 3.6% in 2020, the worst performance since 1946. That would follow 2.2% growth in 2019 and would be the first annual decline in GDP since the 2007-09 Great Recession.

(Reuters)

Third stimulus check: what will the minimum age be to claim payment?

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.

Full details:

How could the third stimulus check be different from the first and second ones?

No one knows when a third stimulus check will come nor what it’ll be like, but fewer may end up being eligible for the check as it could be more targeted.

Full story:

"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."

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."

Stimulus check news: live updates

Welcome to our live, rolling coverage bringing you the latest updates on the proposed third round of stimulus checks in the US.

We'll also be providing information on other economic-aid initiatives being put forward, such as an expanded child tax credit that would enable households to claim up to $300 a month from the IRS.

Here is our latest report on how the process of getting the third stimulus check approved is progressing:

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