$1,400 third stimulus check: news summary for 29 January
US stimulus check news and latest updates: live
- Stimulus check of up to $1,400 in President Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan (will it get GOP support?)
- Biden "open" to negotiation over eligibility requirements for third check
- Adult dependents could be entitled to $2,000 stimulus checks to make up for previous exclusion
- Progressive lawmakers call for recurring stimulus checks to be included in new legislation (full story)
- Proposal for increased child tax credit of up to $3,600 per dependent in stimulus plan (full details)
- 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: >25.76 million / >433,100 (live updates)
American Rescue Plan could see more family members given stimulus checks
Talks surrounding the next round of coronavirus stimulus checks are still ongoing as President Joe Biden attempts to get his ambitious American Rescue Plan passed. His new covid-19 economic relief bill includes a round of $1,400 direct payments to ‘top up’ the $600 distributed earlier this month.
Exact details of Biden’s proposal have not yet been released but it is thought that there are some considerable changes made to eligibility that could see millions more able to receive the direct support. For many this could add thousands of dollars to a household’s stimulus check entitlement.
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.
What has Ron Klain said about the covid-19 relief bill and the launch of the vaccine?
Chief of Staff Ron Klain says the covid-19 relief bill is gaining momentum and that the administration is fixing flaws in the vaccination effort. Klain, appearing on CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, answered questions regarding the administration’s ability to meet its vaccination goals, reopening schools and Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.
Klain dismissed claims that Biden's American Rescue Plan plan was “dead in the water” and on the contrary was “gaining a lot of momentum on Capitol Hill.” He also said that the Biden administration inherited a vaccination process that was flawed but that they are working to fix it and increase supply.
“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,”
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."
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.
Biden’s coronavirus czar has his work cut out
Although there are many variants of the covid-19 virus, the US now has the confirmed cases of the three most worrying. None of them have been found to be more deadly than original strain that came out of China last winter but they are more contagious. This means that more people could be infected putting further pressure on the medical system. The UK variant is expected to be the dominant strain in the US sometime in March.
Biden’s plan to help the US recovery centers around tackling the pandemic through numerous healthcare measures and an expedited vaccination program. As well righting the economy, not just through stimulus checks to help families meet their needs and spur demand, but also to bring about more equity. Until the virus is under control the US cannot go back to business as usual.
Missed the first stimulus checks?
Some 8 million people didn’t receive a stimulus check, unaware that they were eligible for one, simply because they didn’t file a tax return or apply.
Read the full story:
What are House progressives saying about the coronavirus relief bill?
Ilhan Omar, Chellie Pingree and others are pushing for regular, monthly direct cash payments to help struggling Americans until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Read the full story:
Who is being taken to the cleaners
When Reddit trolls used GameStop as a pawn in teaching the Wall Street establishment a lesson, someone had to lose. Who are the investors losing millions?
Read the full story:
The sheriff is coming for Robinhood
Reuters - The U.S. securities regulator on Friday said it would review actions that may “unduly inhibit” trading of certain securities and said it was closely monitoring potential wrongdoing amid recent price volatility in the U.S. stock market. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials warned against illegal “manipulative trading activity” and said they were working closely with other regulators to monitor the situation after a wild week of trading during which an army of small investors have driven a dramatic squeeze of Wall Street hedge funds in shares of GameStop Corp and other hot companies.
“The Commission will closely review actions taken by regulated entities that may disadvantage investors or otherwise unduly inhibit their ability to trade certain securities,” the SEC said on Friday, following a statement earlier in the week it was monitoring market volatility.
Online broker Robinhood earlier in the week placed disputed trading restrictions on certain shares, drawing ire from lawmakers and scrutiny from regulators. The firm had eased restrictions on Friday.
“Our core market infrastructure has proven resilient under the weight of this week’s extraordinary trading volumes. Nevertheless, extreme stock price volatility has the potential to expose investors to rapid and severe losses and undermine market confidence,” the SEC said on Friday.
White House on covid-19 bill: "we feel like we have to try"
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki talks with Rachel Maddow about the Biden administration making an honest effort to reach out to Republicans in the Senate on legislation like the new covid-19 relief bill, while maintaining a realistic awareness of the urgency of the matter and the possibility that Democrats will have to act alone.
White House press briefing with Dr Fauci on Coronavirus
Dr Fauci, keen to quell alarm over new strains of covid-19 that are arriving to the US.
“The fundamental principle of getting people vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as you possibly can” is because it’s the “best way to prevent the further evolution of any mutation,” like concerning new Covid variants that are emerging in places with spread.
How many votes would pass a third stimulus check in Congress?
Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan proposes direct stimulus checks and higher child tax credits but Republican Senators are unlikely to support it.
Jen Psaki begins coronavirus press conference at White House
Psaki is asked about double-masking, as Biden has been seen on occasion to do. No specific CDC guidance, Psaki says, but Dr Anthony Fauci has said it makes sense. There’s a covid-specific briefing coming up, says White House reporter for the Guardian.
Psaki also answers about vaccine purchase decisions.
Covid briefing at the White House updates
Martin Pengelly at The Guardian is at the White House press briefing with Jen Psaki.
- Biden is encouraged by news of the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine but encourages all Americans to follow current social distancing and mitigation guidelines. A briefing will follow from the covid team, she says.
- The White House is still preparing and pursuing its push to pass new covid relief in Congress by briefing groups around the states, and says the American people want Republicans in Congress to work with Biden.
White House briefing at 10am ET: covid-19 relief and stimulus check
The White House is holding a press briefing at 10 a.m. ET today and there are sure to be questions over the Biden administration’s position and prospects on its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill package.
The key fact to remember is that the White House hasn’t shut the door to paring back the bill’s price tag in order to rally support from moderate Democrats and Republicans -and the president has signalled eagerness to make this bill bipartisan.
The Wall Street Journal reports still that there are some sticking points that the White House doesn’t want to move on:
"Many Republicans and some Democrats have questioned the price tag of the plan, with some lawmakers suggesting there would be bipartisan support for a smaller package focused on vaccine distribution, potentially a third round of direct checks and some other measures. That would leave the more contentious items, such as aid for state and local governments, for a separate bill."
But the White House shot down that prospect Thursday.
“We’re not looking to split the package,” said press secretary Jen Psaki in her daily briefing. She said Mr. Biden was open to ideas on further targeting aid, but the administration is “not going to do this in a piecemeal way or break apart a big package meant to address the crisis we’re facing.”
J&J says vaccine effective against covid, weaker against South Africa variant
A single shot of Johnson & Johnson's covid-19 vaccine is effective in preventing moderate to severe illness, the company reported Friday.
Johnson & Johnson, which made the vaccine in partnership with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, is poised to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorisation as early as next week.
A real Robin Hood?
In the GameStop - Reddit scandal, heat has turned to Robinhood, an online stock broker allowing normal people to trade online, but who yesterday restricted trading on the gaming retail company stocks, to try to regulate a surge brought on by amateur traders.
Calls to hold the online broker and others to account led to an unlikely allegiance between AOC and Ted Cruz.
Read more about what's happening with GameStock and Robinhood.
Why did Robinhood restrict GameStop trading?
Controversial financial news this week has brought into question the very freedom of the free market. What’s the latest on the Reddit GameStop scandal?
Read the full story:
Pfizer says vaccine effective on UK, South Africa variants of covid-19
A Pfizer Inc. PFE 0.03% laboratory study found that coronavirus mutations identified in the U.K. and South Africa had only small impacts on the effectiveness of antibodies generated by the company’s covid-19 vaccine, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The antibodies were slightly less effective against mutations in the variant identified in South Africa, according to the study. It was posted Wednesday on the online server bioRxiv, which publishes scientific papers before they have been peer-reviewed.
Researchers have been racing to assess whether covid-19 vaccines and drugs will still work against new variants, as governments roll out shots they hope will allow schools, businesses and other establishments to reopen.
Pfizer’s findings are consistent with other preliminary results reported in recent weeks by several research groups looking at the effectiveness of available vaccines against the new variants.
Biden to rescind Trump's pandemic-era limits on immigrant and work visas
President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order rescinding the proclamation that suspended certain immigrant and work visas, Esther Olavarria told U.S. mayors over the weekend, according to a recording of the virtual meeting shared with CBS News. Olavarria is deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and one of the president's top immigration advisers.
The upcoming order, Olavarria said, "would rescind the Trump proclamations that precluded the admission of immigrants and non-immigrants either deemed to be a financial burden on our health care system or deemed to present a risk to U.S. labor markets."
Black Americans receiving covid vaccines at lower rates than whites
Black Americans are receiving covid-19 vaccinations at dramatically lower rates than white Americans in the first weeks of the chaotic rollout, according to a new analysis reported in the Guardian.
About 3% of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine so far. But in 16 states that have released data by race, white residents are being vaccinated at significantly higher rates than Black residents, according to the CDC analysis – in many cases two to three times higher.
In the most dramatic case, 1.2% of white Pennsylvanians had been vaccinated as of 14 January, compared with 0.3% of Black Pennsylvanians.
The vast majority of the initial round of vaccines has gone to healthcare workers and staffers on the frontlines of the pandemic – a workforce that’s typically racially diverse made up of physicians, hospital cafeteria workers, nurses and janitorial staffers.
Recurring checks "a must", says Omar
House Representative Ilhan Omar, one of a group of progressive lawmakers calling for monthly stimulus checks, says introducing the measure is "a must".
Omar is one of over 50 congressmen and women who on Thursday sent a letter to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in which the new US president and vice-president were told: "Recurring payments would provide a long-term lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic."
In a tweet later on Thursday, Omar said: "For months we have been beating the drum, let’s continue to push and make this a reality. Monthly recurring checks are a must."
New child tax credit proposal: dates and deadlines
President Biden’s $1.9tn American Rescue Plan includes provision to dramatically increase the amount offered to low-income families through the use of child tax credits.
"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.
Progressive lawmakers pressure Biden for recurring stimulus payments
A letter signed by over 50 lawmakers has called for President Biden's covid-19 relief bill to include monthly direct payments, a proposal that Vice-President Kamala Harris has previously supported. The president's attempts to find bipartisan support for his American Rescue Plan have fallen 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.
US stimulus checks: live updates
Welcome to our daily live blog bringing you news and information on the third round of stimulus checks proposed in US President Joe Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan.
Here's our latest report on the progress Democrats are making in their efforts to get Biden's stimulus package through Congress: