Third stimulus check updates for Friday 5 February
- The Senate adopts a budget resolution which will allow the $1.9trn stimulus bill to be passed
- VP Kamala Harris required to break Senate deadlock (51-50)
- Senate voted in favour of non-binding ammendment to tighten stimulus check eligibility
- 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."
- 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
- Reports that Biden is willing 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)
- US covid-19 cases/deaths: >26.6 million / 455,875 (live updates)
Trump ally Stone seen with far-right group 6 January
The Trump loyalist can be seen flanked by members of the far-right anti-government group on the morning of 6 January in Washington before the insurrection.
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Minimum wage hike may bite the dust in covid-19 stimulus bill
A federal minimum wage hike to $15 per hour may not make it into the new coronavirus relief plan after all, President Biden said Friday evening in an interview with CBS Evening News.
The pay increase had been a key part of Biden’s plan and supporters of the policy were hopeful it would pass with the $1.9 trillion relief package, which was brought a step closer Friday when budget reconciliation passed through Congress.
Third stimulus check calculator: how much could you receive?
Now that the wheels are in motion for Democrats to pass a $1.9tn covid relief bill without the support of the GOP, here's a look at what the scope may be.
Will there be a fourth stimulus check after the third one?
With the budget resolution now passed in the House and the Senate, a third stimulus check is edging closer. What’s the outlook for a fourth?
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How to distribute third stimulus check?
Democratic lawmakers are debating over how the direct cash payments in Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package should be distributed.
Negotiations continue over who should receive the checks. Some moderate Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have called for phasing out the checks at a lower income level.
The president has affirmed again and again that the size of the check will not change, rejecting calls from some Republicans to lower the size of the checks from $1,400 to $1,000.
“I’m not cutting the size of the checks,” Biden said today. “They’re going to be $1,400. Period. That’s what the American people were promised.”
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Budget resolution passes Democrat led House
The House has just passed the Senate-approved budget resolution, paving the way for the chamber to take up Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief proposal including $1,400 stimulus checks in the coming weeks.
The House voted 219-209 along mostly partly lines to approve the resolution as amended by the Senate.
“Janet Yellen is our treasury secretary, okay? She knows a little something about inflationary risks”
- On criticism that the Biden administration is ignoring the inflationary risks of its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal.
WATCH: Biden speaks about his stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan
President Biden gives his thoughts on the vote in the Senate this morning which gave Democrats the ability the pass his stimulus bill without bipartisan support. He has already reaffirmed his commitment to passing stimulus checks worth $1,400, saying it was an "easy choice".
He added: "I'm going to act. I'm going to act fast. I'd like to do it with the support of Republicans ... But they are not willing to go as far as we need to go"
Bleak unemployment figures show need for stimulus bill
At 5:30 this morning the Senate voted in favour of a budget resolution which will allow the Democrats to use reconciliation to pass President Biden's covid-19 relief bill. Amongst various programmes and federal initiatives, the $1.9 trillion package includes another round of stimulus checks and a $400 boost to the weekly minimum wage.
These two elements will be lifelines for millions as the jobs market in the US struggle to rebuild. Official data showed that 400,000 people left the workforce in January, meaning that they have stopped looking for a job after spending months without one.
Democrats considering targeted stimulus checks
President Biden secured an important Congressional vicotry on Friday morning as the Senate voted in favour of a budget resolution which will allow his American Rescue Plan to be passed with just a simple majority. The bill proposed in the Senate includes a round of $1,400 stimulus checks with the elgibility requirements widened to include adult dependents.
However the stimulus bill has not yet been officially passed and there are growing calls for the direct payments to be more focused on those in need. A non-binding ammendment passed 99-1 in the Senate last night called for high income earners to be excluded from stimulus checks this time around.
Read more about what's happening with stimulus check negotiations:
Super Bowl mania amid stimulus check debates
The main interest in the United States right now seems to be split between the covid-19 relief package and Sunday's Super Bowl between the Bucs and the Chiefs.
A stimulus check wouldn't buy you a ticket, but it may let you enjoy the NFL final in a little more comfort. Our AS sports team is all over it if you want to keep track...
Senate runoff victory crucial to Dems' stimulus bill
Throughout the campaigning for the Georgia Senate runoff elections, the Democrats promised that victories for their candidates would allow President Biden to pass a more ambitious policy agenda than would otherwise be possible. A promise of a third round of stimulus checks was also a key feature of campaigns and they are now drawing closer.
The two seats won by Democrat candidates tied the Senate with 50 members of each Party's caucus. This meant that in event of a tie-break the Vice President gets the casting vote. When the stimulus bill was passed early this morning it was VP Kamala Harris who had the deciding vote.
Sen. Sanders voices support for $15 minimum wage in stimulus bill debate
Sen. for Vermont Bernie Sanders has repeated his commitment to passing a significant increase on the national minimum wage would which see it raised to $15-per-hour. At one point in the discussion Republican Sen. Joni Ernst attempted gather opposition to the proposal, suggesting that it would be damaging to do so during a pandemic.
In reponse, Sanders said: "It was never my intention to increase the minimum wage to $15 immediately and during the pandemic," adding: "My legislation gradually increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period and that is what I believe we have got to do."
The new relief bill includes funding for a round of $1,400 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, but the minimum wgae proposal offers a more long-term solution to economic inequality.
Senate vote on stimulus bill required tie-break from VP Harris
After a 15-hour debate in the Senate it required the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, in her role as Senate President, to break the deadlock on the new stimulus package. Harris reportedly arrived in the chamber at around 5:30am on Friday morning to ensure that Democrats can move forward with the process of reconciliation to pass the stimulus bill.
Included in the legislation is a round of $1,400 stimulus checks which GOP members had criticised for being excessive. However while the bill looks set to be passed in the coming weeks, there was an amendment made which could see eligibility requirements narrowed to prevent high earners from receiving the money.
"We end this debate in a moment in which our country faces more crises, more pain, more anxiety than any time since the Great Depression.
"But we have the opportunity to give hope to the American people and restore faith in our government by telling them that tonight we understand the pain that they are experiencing and we are going to do something very significant about it.”
Democrats victorious in Senate vote on new stimulus bill
After a mamoth 15-hour session in the Senate the Democrats have successfully passed a budget resolution which paves the way for them to use reconciliation to pass President Biden's American Rescue Plan.
The $1.9 trillion covid-19 stimulus bill had faced growing criticism in recent weeks and on Sunday a group of ten GOP lawmakers sent a letter to the White House proposing a counter-offer worth just $600 billion. Today's vote does not see the final stimulus bill passed but does show that the Dems can do so without bipartisan support.
There was, however, a non-binding amendment to the bill which would see high income earners excluded from receiving the $1,400 stimulus checks.
Senators pull an all-nighter to pass stimulus bill resolution
After a 15-hour session in Congress the Senate has finally voted in favour of a budget resolution which will allow Democrats to pass President Biden's American Rescue Plan without bipartisan support. The lengthly discussion was a result of a practice known as 'vote-a-rama', in which senators are allowed to proposed an endless stream of amendments on a bill.
In practice, few get much support and are really only intended to draw the opposition party into going on record on a contentious subject. However in this instance a reolution to reduce the top thresholds to prevent high earners from receiving stimulus checks was resoundingly passed, with a vote of 99-1 in favour.
Budget resolution adopted in the Senate to allow stimulus bill to pass
This morning a 51-50 vote in the Senate (with VP Kamala Harris as the tie-break) has allowed the Democrats to press ahead with Biden's covid-19 relief bill despite the lack of support from the GOP. Usually a 60-vote supermajority would be required for the bill to pass the Senate but Dems have utilised a procdure known as reconciliation to lower the threshold to a simple majority.
In the course of discussion this morning an amendment tabled by Dem. Senators Joe Manchin calling for "upper income taxpayers" to be excluded from the $1,400 stimulus checks was approved by 99-1. This is not binding at this stage but does suggest that there is bipartisan appetite for the eligibility requirements to be tightened slightly.
Senate passes budget bill, paving the way for Biden's stimulus bill
After weeks of negoitations and a last-gasp attempt from GOP senators to force some ammendments to the package, President Biden's American Rescue Plan has cleared the Senate. The voting was strictly down partisan lines, with each party's 50-vote caucus opting to side with the party.
The deadlock was broken by VP Kamala Harris who has the tie-breaking voting, and the package can now be signed into law by Biden. This will see a round of $1,400 stimulus checks distributed in the near future.
Stimulus check eligibility requirements may be changed before the package is passed
It seems almost certain the Democrats will use the Senate mechanism of reconilicaion to pass Biden's American Rescue Plan without Republican support, but that does not mean that there will be no alterations made. Concerned with the size of the package, some are calling for the eligibility requirements for stimulus checks to be tightened.
There is talk of the upper threshold for an individual being reduced from $75,000 to $50,000. However this would be a controversial move and Ron Wyden, chair of Senate Finance Committee, has criticised the suggestion. A number of leading Democrats have spoken about the danger of not offering enough economic stimulus at this time of national crisis and have actually called for the amount to be upped by offering recurring payments.
Can I get the $1,400 stimulus check and unemployment benefits?
President Biden's covid-19 bill includes $1.9 trillion of federal funding to help stimulate the economy and provide relief for those struggling the the economic consequences of the pandemic. This package will likely include $400-per-week of additional unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs, and another round of stimulus checks worth up to $1,400.
More stimulus needed for US economy to rebound
Authorities have began easing covid-19 restrictions on businesses, possibly the strongest signal yet that the US labor market may soon emerge from the toughest period of the covid-19 pandemic.
Hwoever the Labor Department's employment report released later today does not lessen the need for additional stimulus spending as millions of people are still experiencing long bouts of unemployment.
It is estimated that the economy will still be about 10 million jobs short from the labor market's peak in February 2020. President Joe Biden is pushing Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion recovery plan, which has been met with criticism from Republican lawmakers. But experts are calling the stimulus bill essential to the recovery .
"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."
Senate hope to vote on Biden's covid-19 stimulus bill before the weekend
The Senate is expected to vote on a budget resolution soon, which paves the way to passing President Biden's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill. Without the 10 GOP votes needed to achieve a supermajority in the Senate, the Democrats plan to use the process of reconciliation to pass the bill with only a simple majority.
However, before the final vote Republicans are forcing Democrats to go on the record with a series of votes on a slew of amendments in a process known as a "vote-a-rama."
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.
Treasury Secretary predicts "Tough months ahead" for US economy
Janet Yellen, President Biden's new Treasury Secretary, has warned of "some tough months ahead" as the US struggles to combat the coronavirus pandemic. She went on to urge Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus package as a matter of urgency.
"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 […]," she told ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday. "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".
Biden looks to double minimum wage as part of stimulus package
When President Joe Biden officially announced his flagship economic policy, the American Rescue Plan, in early January he set out his hopes for the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.
A White House briefing says: “the current crisis is generating deeply inequitable outcomes for American families”. The stimulus checks will garner much of the attention but the proposed increase to the national minimum wage could have huge long-term effects.
Biden’s plan would put in place a gradual raising of the federal minimum wage to $15-per-hour by 2025, more than doubling the current figure. However this has prompted some concerns about the economic impact on businesses.
Majority of Republicans in favour of passing $1,400 stimulus checks
A new poll carried out by Quinnipiac University suggests that 60% of Republican voters support President Joe Biden’s proposed $1,400 stimulus checks, despite pushback from GOP lawmakers. A group of ten moderate Republican senators has met with Biden this week to discuss the package and questioned the size of support it offers
However in the poll, 64% of Republican respondents said they were in favour of the proposed stimulus checks. Of all those surveyed 78% said they agreed with the proposal, with a massive 90% of Democrat-voting participants giving it their backing.
Could an ammendment for recurring stimulus checks be passed?
A petition calling for monthly stimulus checks has received over two million signatures on Change.org as calls for recurring payments intensify. The petition calls on Congress to pass $2,000 monthly stimulus checks for adults, and an additional $1,000 in 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.
This echoes the call from a group of 54 Democrat lawmakers who published a letter asking for Biden to consider adding recurring sitmulus check payments to his American Rescue Plan.
Stimulus needed as job market clumps
It's the 46th consecutive week of unemployment claims topping the highest levels ever recorded before the pandemic. This week the total of claimants for unemployment benefits was 779,000.
The numbers underscore argument for covid-19 economic stimulus relief to help struggling families and businesses to survive. Alongside the additional $400 unemployment benefits the stimulus checks, which Biden is hoping to get passed soon, will be a vital lifeline for millions.
Republicans have "significant questions" about Biden's covid-19 stimulus bill
The group of 10 Republican senators who met with President Biden earlier this week have sent a letter tothe White House questioning the size of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal. Since the meeting it is reported that GOP lawmakers have received further informaiton on the package and are looking for some ammendments to be made before it is passed.
The letter providing "feedback" comes as Congress is moving ahead with the bill using a procedure that would allow the bill to pass without any Republican votes. Many in GOP still hope that some changes will be made, possibly to the eligibility requirements for stimulus checks, before the package is passed.