Stimulus check updates for 4 February 2021

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Third stimulus check updates today: when it may arrive, 1.9 trillion stimulus bill, $1,400 or $1,000?


- Democrats intend to pass President Biden's $1.9trn stimulus bill using reconciliation in the Senate

- Group of 10 Republican lawmakers had proposed new $600bn covid relief bill with $1,000 stimulus checks (full details)

- GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell: "They've chosen a totally partisan path."

- President Biden met with GOP Senators on Monday to discuss stimulus bill proposals

- Biden intent on passing $1,400 stimulus checks as part of his American Rescue Plan

- Group of 50 House Democrats call on Biden to consider recurring $2,000 stimulus checks

- President may agree to alter eligibility requirements to pass stimulus checks (full story)

- Adult dependents could be entitled to $2,000 stimulus checks ($1,400 + $600) as retroactive payment

- Proposal could see child tax credit max entitlement raised to $3,600 per dependent in stimulus plan (full details)

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

US covid-19 cases/deaths: >26.4 million / 446,901 (live updates)


- Democrats intend to pass President Biden's $1.9trn stimulus bill using reconciliation in the Senate

- Group of 10 Republican lawmakers had proposed new $600bn covid relief bill with $1,000 stimulus checks (full details)

- GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell: "They've chosen a totally partisan path."

- President Biden met with GOP Senators on Monday to discuss stimulus bill proposals

- Biden intent on passing $1,400 stimulus checks as part of his American Rescue Plan

- Group of 50 House Democrats call on Biden to consider recurring $2,000 stimulus checks

- President may agree to alter eligibility requirements to pass stimulus checks (full story)

- Adult dependents could be entitled to $2,000 stimulus checks ($1,400 + $600) as retroactive payment

- Child tax credit max entitlement could be raised to $3,600 per dependent in stimulus plan (full details)

US covid-19 cases/deaths: >26.5 million / 450,826 (live updates)


US employment growth likely rebounded; more government money still needed

US job growth likely rebounded in January as authorities began easing covid-19 restrictions on businesses with the ebbing pace of infections, which could offer the strongest signal yet that the worst of the labor market turmoil was behind after the economy shed jobs in December.

The Labor Department's closely watched employment report on Friday will, however, not lessen the need for additional relief money from the government, with millions of people experiencing long bouts of unemployment and others having permanently lost their jobs, and given up the search for work.

The economy would still be about 10 million jobs short from the labor market's peak in February 2020. President Joe Biden is pushing the U.S. Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion recovery plan, which has been met with resistance from mostly Republican lawmakers, now worried about the swelling national debt.

Biden's fellow Democrats in the Senate were on Thursday set to take a first step toward the ultimate passage of the proposed stimulus package.

"The stimulus has to pass," said Jason Reed, finance professor at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. "Whatever the payrolls number is, we shouldn't forget we are significantly under the amount of jobs needed to get back to where we were a year ago."


World shares near record levels as vaccines fuel normalisation hopes

Global shares traded near record highs on Friday, with Asian stocks taking their lead from Wall Street, as progress in vaccine distribution prompted bets on further normalisation in the global economy and an earnings recovery.

"What's driving the market is corporate earnings are posting a strong recovery," said Jumpei Tanaka, strategist at Pictet.

"And there are piles of money saved in MMF (money market funds) and elsewhere that are likely to be invested in stocks once the economy normalises as vaccination programmes progress."

Expectations of a large stimulus by U.S. President Joe Biden's administration also supported risk sentiment while better-than-expected data on U.S. job markets released in the past two days is fanning a bullish mood ahead of the payroll report due out later during the day.

Where are the mass vaccination centres in California?

Two new mass vaccination sites will open this month in the golden state, a measure aimed to kickstart numbers and boost racial equality in covid-19 care.

What are the social and public place restrictions in NY?

Governor Andrew Cuomo has significantly lifted the coronavirus restrictions at the end of January, with some non essential businesses allowed to reopen.

GOP: we have "significant questions" on covid stimulus relief bill

A group of 10 Republican senators sent a letter to President Biden questioning the size of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal, after meeting with the president earlier this week and receiving more information from the White House on the legislation.

The letter providing "feedback" for the president comes as Congress is moving ahead with the bill using a procedure that would allow the bill to pass without any Republican votes.

When is the Senate voting on the third stimulus check?

House Democrats on Wednesday gave the green light to move forward along party lines on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Senate to vote on $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill before weekend

The Senate is expected to vote on a budget resolution today or tomorrow, an important step to passing President Biden's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief proposal through the process of reconciliation, which allows legislation to pass with only a simple majority instead of the typical 60-vote threshold. 

But before there can be a final vote on the resolution, Republicans are forcing Democrats to go on the record with a series of votes on a slew of amendments in a politically painful process known as a "vote-a-rama."

Democrats have pushed forward with the process of budget reconciliation to pass the relief legislation, meaning that they will be able to approve it without any Republican votes.

Once both houses of Congress pass the budget resolution, which serves as the vehicle for the legislation, committees begin formulating a reconciliation bill itself. The reconciliation bill will receive 20 hours of debate, and then another "vote-a-rama" before a final vote.

Senator Elizabeth Warren argues for cancelling student loan debt

The measure, the Massachussets Senator estimated would cost the government around $650 billion, and ultimately boost the economy following the economic crisis brought about by the pandemic.

It's just one proposal Democrats are working on passing alongside a new coronavirus stimulus bill.

Weekly jobless claims still four times pre pandemic levels

It's the 46th consecutive week of jobless claims exceeding highest levels ever recorded pre-pandemic. This week the new claims number fell slightly to 779,000.

The numbers underscore argument for covid-19 economic stimulus relief to help struggling families and businesses to survive.

Biden and his minimum wage proposal

The American Rescue Plan would double the national minimum wage by 2025 but some worry that this could hit businesses already struggling with the pandemic.

Petition calling for monthly stimulus checks garners over 2m signatures

At the time of writing, just over 2.1 million people had signed a petition calling on Congress to pass $2,000 monthly stimulus checks for adults, plus $1,000 child credits, for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Supplying Americans with monthly support until they can get back on their feet can save our communities from financial ruin," say the creators of the petition.

Majority of Republicans support $1,400 stimulus check - poll

Over 60% of Republican voters support President Joe Biden’s pledge to distribute a stimulus check of up to $1,400 to qualifying Americans, despite pushback from GOP lawmakers over the measure.

In a poll carried out by Quinnipiac University, 64% of Republican respondents said they were in favour of the proposed direct payments.

In all, 78% of those surveyed said they agreed with the proposal, with 90% of Democratic participants giving it their backing.

"Tough months ahead" for US economy, says Yellen

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the US economy faces "some tough months ahead" amid the coronavirus pandemic, and has urged Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn relief package.

"This is really an urgent need and we need to act big, we have to make sure that we provide a bridge so that people aren’t scarred indefinitely by this crisis […]," Yellen told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. "I think everybody knows what America needs now."

She went on: "We have 18 million people now who are collecting unemployment insurance and last week 1.3 million people filed new claims for unemployment, that’s the highest level of unemployment-insurance claims we’ve had. We’ve never had anything so large even during the Great Recession.

"So we need to make that people have jobs and if they don’t have jobs they’re supported, and that when we come out of this and the economy rebounds - we’ve got some tough months ahead until we get control of the pandemic - but we want to make sure we’ve got a good strong labor market and can put people back to work".

Unemployment claims fall to 779,000

The US Labor Department has revealed that there were 779,000 first-time unemployment-insurance claims in the country last week, the third straight week this number has fallen.

Per CNN, however, this is nearly four times as many claims as the same time last year.

It is also the 46th consecutive week that initial jobless-benefits applications were higher than in the worst week of the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, the Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Shierholz has noted.

Can I apply for the third stimulus check if I also receive unemployment benefits?

President Biden's covid-19 relief bill proposal includes $1.9 trillion of federal funding, but is there a limit on the amount of support you can receive?

Full details:

Majority believes passing stimulus checks is a top prioirity

A new poll carried out by Hill-HarrisX poll suggests that stimulus checks are a top priority as Biden's American Rescue Plan is expected to be introduced in the Senate in the coming days.

In the study, 54% of registered voters believed that direct payments were one of the top three most important measures for the next relief package. The next most popular items to be included were small business aid and federal funding for covid-19 testing and vaccinations.

Unsurprising, just 7% of respondents said there was no need for another covid-19 relief bill at the moment. It seems like the majoirty will get their way as stimulus checks remain a key feature of both Biden's and the Republicans' proposals. 

Who will be eligible for the new stimulus checks?

Developments in recent days suggest that the Democrats will probably have to use reconciliation to pass Biden's new stimulus package. However Biden has retained hope of finding a bipartisan solution, and has hinted that he may be open to narrowing the eligibility requirements slight to garner support from the GOP. 

This would certainly be a controversial move and Ron Wyden, chair of Senate Finance Committee, has said that he believes that requirements should not be altered from previous rounds. A number of leading Democrats have spoken about the danger of not offering enough economic stimulus at this time of national crisis. 

When will the Senate pass the new stimulus bill?

President Biden was eager to get some form of bipartisan support for his new sitmulus package, the American Rescue Plan. However his $1.9 trillion proposal aims to rebuild the US economy, and he has made clear that he will not accept an insufficient package or wait too long for support. 

The Senate voted on Tuesday to move forward with reconciliation process, clearing the way for a Senate debate on the exact details of the bill in the near future. So when are the next round of stimulus checks going to be passed?

Biden: middle-earners need stimulus checks too

In recent days Republican senators have delivery a counter-proposal to Biden's American Rescue Plan which would see the number of Americans able to receive stimulus checks slashed. A group of 10 GOP lawmakers proposed a new bill with tighter eligibility rules than Biden's.

He had hoped to pass the next round of stimulus checks with bipartisan support but this appears unlikely now.  Speaking at a press conference yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the President is intent on ensuring that even middle-earners require some form of direct support. 

She said: "His [Biden's] view is that at this point in the country, when one in seven Americans do not have enough food to eat, people need to get the relief that that need and [should not be] left behind". 

Stimulus checks will be passed before Biden's cabinet nominees

President Biden's tim in the White House is getting off to a very busy start as he looks to pass his flagship economic policy, the American Rescue Plan. But there are other things to be done in Congress during the early weeks of his administration and the Senate is facing a packed schedule.

On Tuesday Pete Buttigieg was sworn in as Biden's new Transportation Secretary, but it seems that he will be the last of Biden's cabinet appointments to be confirmed for a while. 

Biden wants the focus to shift towards his economic relief bill, and Democrats have already initiated the process to use reconciliation to pass the bill without bipartisan support. 

However the Senate will still have to hold debates on the subject and Biden has promised to allow Republicans to discuss the stimulus package, with a willingness to make some alterations. There is also the small matter of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on the horizon.

Manchin still hopes for a bipartisan stimulus check process

Sen. Joe Manchin plays a key role for the Democrats as they look to pass the stimulus bill proposed by Biden last month. The American Rescue Plan has found no support from Republicans so will require the whole Democratic caucus, as well as the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, to pass the package. 

Manchin is considered to be the Democrat most likely to vote against the bill, but here seems willing to 'do what needs to be done' to get much-needed financial relief to those who are suffering. 

McConnell appears resigned to Biden's stimulus bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the highest ranking Republican in Congress, has told reporters that he believes the Democrats will pass Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill without bipartisan support:

"It looks like the majority is going to have us vote on the motion to proceed to the budget this afternoon. They've chosen a totally partisan path."

He added: "Life is a series of choices, and they've chosen this". 

Could stimulus check eligibility rules mean that millions miss out?

The Democrats appear to be closing on the passing the new round of stimulus checks, but there are concerns that the existing system could see people in great need of support excluded. So far Biden has kept the income thresholds (the main deciding factor in how much you can receive) the same as previous waves of payment, but that may not take into account those who have lost their jobs

The stimulus check entitlement is based on income data related to pre-pandemic earnings, meaning that it will not take into account the millions who have lost their jobs in the last nine months. There are additional unemployment benefits included as part of Biden's bill, but recipients could still miss out on vital direct support. 

What has Biden said about $2,000 stimulus checks?

Since taking office some have accused President Biden of shifting his position on stimulus checks, now calling for a round of $1,400 payments to be included in the new covid-19 relief bill. Some are disappointed that stimulus checks represent a 'top-up' to $2,000, rather than a stand-alone amount. 

Biden's American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 and has a very good chance of being passed now using the Senate mechanism of reconciliation. He hopes to pass the third round of stimulus checks soon but some in his party have called for the amount to be upped, or for the payments to be recurring. 

What is in Biden's and the Republicans' covid relief bills?

Here's a breakdown of the respective funding plans of the two proposals currently released for the new covid-19 economic relief bills. Biden's American Rescue Plan was announced last month and, having initiated proceedings to begin the reconciliation process, it appears the Dems will have enough support to pass it. 

However Biden would prefer a bipartisan approach and a counter-proposal from the GOP would see around $600 billion put towards the national effort. As this graphic shows, the amount provided for stimulus checks would be hit drastically, with Republicans proposing a round of $1,000 payments and for fewer people. 

What will the new round of stimulus checks look like when passed?

Debate over the scale of the third round of stimulus checks payments continue as the two parties remain unable to agree on the eligibility threshold for the economic support. Biden's American Rescue Plan proposed a widening of elgibility which would allow adult dependents to receive the checks. This would increase the total number of recipients by around 29 million. 

However Biden  is "open" to negotiation over the eligibility requirements and White House press secretary Jen Psaki has told reporters the US president is unhappy with the plan proposed by a group of Republican senators.

'Go big' or go home

Research suggests that there is value in passing a large-scale covid-19 relief package of the type that Biden has proposed, but that funding should be focused on those in greatest need. Speaking to CNN, Havard economist Raj Chetty said that the stimulus checks should be better targeted to ensure that the money is used to boost the economy and provide much-needed support. 

Recent studies have shown that most stimulus check recipients earning less than $75,000 spent their stimulus checks almost immediately, whereas middle earners are more likely to save. After months without direct support, many needed the $600 payments from January to pay for essentials. 

This shows the extent of economic hardship faced by many in the US currently, and one in seven households have struggled to put food on the table at some point. 

What is in the Republicans' stimulus check offer?

On Sunday a group of ten Republican Senators sent a letter to the White House to propose a $600 billion covid-19 relief package which they claim would garner bipartisan support. The package is a counter-proposal to Biden's American Rescue Plan, but will cost just a third of the price. 

Biden is willing to listen to them but with such a drastic funding cut the GOP offer slashes the total amount spent on a new round of stimulus checks. here's everything you need to know about the bill, and the likelihood of it being passed...

IRS confident of speedy stimulus check distribution this time around

Although we are still waiting for the third round of stimulus checks to be passed there is reason to believe that things will progress pretty swiftly once the bill is signed. The IRS have revealed that during the second round of payments, the $600 checks distributed in January, they managed to get 113 million payments done in just seven hours

That will be useful if Biden is to expand eligibility as he his American Rescue Plan suggests. The current proposal would see an extra 29 million become eligibile to receive stimulus checks. 

Biden considering slashing stimulus check eligibility

After meeting with a group of ten Republican lawmakers on Monday evening, President BIden is reportedly considering drastically altering the eligibility requirements for the third round of stimulus checks. He had been hoping to find a bipartisan solution to the deadlock in Congress and this move could help him get a few Republican senators on side. 

In past the full entitlement of stimulus checks had been available for individuals earning less than $100,000-a-year, or for joint-filers who earn less than $200,000. The Washington Post reports that those limits could be brought down to $50,000 and $100,000 respectively as Biden looks to build support amongst Republicans. 

However Biden is eager to get stimulus checks passed promptly and may resort to reconciliation to ensure that the bill is signed into law.