Third stimulus check summary: news on 13 February

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Third stimulus check updates today: when will it come, how much it will be, child support, IRS Tax

Headlines

- Trump acquitted in impeachment trial, clearing the way for stimulus check discussion in the Senate

- President Biden urges Congress to "pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver much-needed relief"

- Stimulus checks and child tax credits approved by House Ways and Means Committee (full story)

- CBO projects federal deficit of $2.3 trillion for 2021, excluding stimulus checks

- US consumer sentiment ebbs in February despite additional stimulus hopes

- Biden commits to $1,400 stimulus checks, but eligibility still being discussed (full story)

- Global spending on green economic stimulus slowly tracking upwards 

- Senate adopts budget resolution that will allow the $1.9tn stimulus bill to be passed

- Over 50 House Democrats urge Biden to maintain $75,000/$150,000 income thresholds

- For the latest stimulus check news in Spanish (las noticias sobre los cheques de estímulo en español a través de este enlace)  

- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 27.5 million / 483,544 (live updates)

Third stimulus check: can college students request payment?

The American Rescue Plan allows adult dependents to get stimulus checks for the first time, and some may even be able to receive retroactive payments for previous rounds.

Read the full story:

Need to file 2020 tax return to get that stimulus check?

With tax season well and truly here, we break the rules down and guide you to all the information you need to get started.

Stimulus check: Who will receive $1,400 and who won't?

Last week, the House approved a budget that would allow President Joe Biden to move forward with a new covid-19 relief package. However, there's potential for things to be different this time around.

For starters, Congress is considering lowering the income eligibility threshold for a third stimulus check tremendously. Democrats are proposing lowing the threshold from $75,000 per individual to $50,000, and from $150,00 to $100,00 for married couples. Individuals earning $50,000 or less would receive the full $1,400 payment, and married couples earning up to $100,000 would receive the full $2,800 payment.

Parents with children would receive an additional $1,400 per child.

Rep Katie Porter on child tax credit efforts

"There’s no discount for being a single parent (trust me, I know). So, single parents shouldn’t face stricter income limitations than married parents in qualifying for the child tax credit. @RepPressley and I are urging @WaysMeansCmte to drop the #singleparentpenalty"

House committees pass $1.9tn stimulus relief bill

President Biden's American Rescue Plan is moving closer as a new round of stimulus checks and changes to child tax credits were approved by the Ways and Means Committee.

Read the full story:

When will all Americans be vaccinated?

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that his team has secured a further 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses, meeting a commitment he made a month ago.

Read the full story:

More than 50 House Dems tell Biden US needs recurring stimulus checks

“It is clear that in this unprecedented time in our nation’s history that we must take additional anticipated action,” a letter to the President reads. 

“Recurring payments would provide a long-term lifeline to struggling Americans for the duration of this deadly pandemic.”

The letter doesn’t specify what amount the representatives would like the recurring payments to be, but as Politico points out, progressives in the House have previously pushed for $2000 monthly checks. Last year, when she was a senator, Vice President Kamala Harris herself introduced a bill to give Americans $2,000 each month in coronavirus relief due to the millions of jobs lost and the many businesses that have closed due to the pandemic.

No, needing a $1,400 stimulus check doesn’t mean you messed up

The Washington Post responds to insensitive comments from Christian personal finance guru Dave Ramsey, a guest on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom”  who said this Thursday, no one needs the extra cash. “I don’t believe in a stimulus check, because if $600 or $1,400 changes your life, you were pretty much screwed already.”

According to a recent analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11 percent of U.S. adults said that they did not have enough food to eat at some point in the previous seven days. Eighty percent of them said they couldn’t afford to buy it.

5 million Americans couldn’t pay their December housing bill, and according to a survey released this week by the Mortgage Bankers Association, a majority of them said they would possibly get evicted or go into foreclosure within a matter of weeks if the situation did not change.

Since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, Ramsey has denied the reality of the economic pain it has inflicted. Last March, he told people experiencing pandemic-related financial woes to “go get you a part-time job” and “get some extra work,” as if that were an easy feat at a time when the economy was going into a deep freeze.

More than 10 million filed unemployment claims in one month, and Ramsey appeared convinced many were voluntarily “quitting” their employment over coronavirus fears.

Americans are most certainly not “stupid” because they failed to save up enough money to survive almost a year of un- or underemployment. 

Study: $1,400 stimulus checks would help 22.6 million pay bills through mid-July

President Biden's proposed $1,400 coronavirus relief checks would allow 22.6 million Americans to pay their bills for at least four and a half months, according to a study from data and research company Morning Consult.

The analysis comes as debates continue over the size and number of stimulus checks to be included in the next round of covid-19 aid.

To evaluate the stimulus's impact, Morning Consult analysed data on household finances, determining that a new stimulus targeted at low-income adults would help to prevent worsened financial hardship, more than just digging people out of trouble.

According to the study, roughly 30.2 million Americans were unable to pay their bills in January.

Out of those, 75 percent missed their bills by less than $300 — a 7 percent improvement from the month prior. Concerns may be raised that the study could be used as evidence against a fourth stimulus check.

"We’ll need recurring checks until the crisis is over"

A group of more than 50 progressive lawmakers has signed a letter sent to President BIden and Vice President Kamala Harris, calling for the next round of stimulus checks to be replaced with a recurring payment programme. The current proposal from the Democrats includes a single $1,400 payment for eligible Americans. 

However this will be just the third direct payment to be agreed in nearly a year, and it seems unlikely that another stimulus bill as big as the American Rescue Plan will be passed for some time. 

Biden has promised to support those most vulnerable and the recurring stimulus check proposal would offer greater support to working women and ethnic minorities who have been particularly hit by the pandemic. Harris actually supported a similar proposal last year while Senator for California, but is highly unlikely to split from BIden on this issue now. 

One in three Americans will save their stimulus checks

A new study carried out by Morning Consult and commissioned by Bloomberg has found that over a third of recipients intend to save their stimulsu checks. Of those polled, 34% said they would put the third stimulus check towards their savings, most of whom tended to be from wealthier households. 

The next most popular answers when asked were: spend it on food (30%); on housing costs (22%) and on servicing credit card debt (18%).

This may suggest that the stimulus checks need to be more targeted to those in urgent need of support, but the Bloomberg article actually argues that saving followed by spending could be good for the economy. They contend this would effectively spread out the government support over time and help avoid a spending rush now that pushes up inflation.

ICYMI: Tresury Sec supports American Rescue Plan

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, President Biden's new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has outlined the need for the $1.9 trillion price tag on the stimulus bill proposal. She says that the size and the severity of the economic downturn caused by the covid-19 pandemic makes it vital that the federal government offers support. 

She mentions a number of groups who are particularly hit by the pandemic, many of whom have be the specific target of economic relief in Biden's bill. The third round of stimulus checks, unemployment benefits and expanded child tax credits are all aimed at easing the financial burden for the most vulnerable. 

 

American Rescue Plan needed to get kids back into schools

Vice President Kamala Harris has reiterated her support for President Biden's stimulus bill, which aims to get children back into schools within 100 days. It forms just one part of the Biden administration's push to provide support for low income families, who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. 

Harris has recently penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in which she outlines the struggles faced by women in the workplace. As well as the additional stimulus checks and child tax credits offered in the American Rescue Plan, gettin gkids back into school safely would help to ease the burden on working mothers who often shoulder much of the burden for childcare. 

When will the new stimulus checks be passed?

The subject of stimulus checks has been pushed aside during the impeachment trial but now that it has been concluded there are hopes that progress can be made on Biden's American Rescue Plan. House leader Nancy Pelosi has confirmed that the Democrats hope to have the bill settled in the coming weeks:

"We hope to have this all done by the end of February," she said, and added that she expects the bill to be on President Biden's desk at the beginning of March at the latest.

This news comes after the House Ways and Means Committee approved $940 billion of federal funding to cover the $1,400 stimulus payments to millions of Americans.

Committee passes stimulus check and child tax credit proposal

Despite the lack of consensus in Washington progress is continuing on Biden's American Rescue Plan as the Ways and Means Committee voted in favour of a $940 billion segment of the proposal. The section passed includes funding for the third round of stimulus checks, as well as proposed expansion of child tax credit. 

This is not a formal passing of the bill, but does pave the way for the Democrats to use a process known as reconciliation to get the full package signed into law. The vote in the Committee was along party lines, with a 25-18 victory for the Democrats. 

What does this mean for the American Rescue Plan and when will it be passed? Read more here:

Experts predict issues with new child tax credit 

The American Rescue Plan includes a ground-breaking expansion of the child tax credit allowance which is hoped to assist families who are struggling due to the pandemic. The new proposal would see the amount offered upped to $300-per-month for children under the age of six, and $250-per-month for children aged between six and 17. 

There are also hopes that it could be distributed as a monthly payment, similiar to the stimulus checks also included in the bill. The current system only lets parents claim the tax credit at the end of each tax year, meaning they are forced to wait 12 months for the full amount. 

However the entitlement is based on the previous years tax returns, which means that when Biden's bill is signed into law the data will almost certainly be outdated for some individuals. Those whose family situation, salary or employment status has changed may be missed out by the IRS. 

Rep. Pressley repeats call for recurring stimulus checks

The stimulus bill currently working its way through a number of House Committee, known ans the American Rescue Plan, includes a single round of $1,400 stimulus checks, but a group of progressive have called for that to be replaced with a repeating monthly payment. 

The Squad, a group of progressive lawmakers Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, drafted a letter with the proposal which was then sent to the White House. The letter was also counter-signed by over 50 other lawmakers, showing that there is widespread support for the move. 

Rep. Pressley has reshared the suggestion on her social media today, which drew a lot of positive comments online. However given the scale of the opposition to the current stimulus check proposal it is difficult to see how this suggestion could even be implemented. 

White House meeting on American Rescue Plan

On Friday President Biden met with leaders from state and local government to discuss the future of his $1.9 trillion stimulus bill which he is hoping to pass in the coming weeks. The package has faced push-back from Republican lawmakers but Biden is still hoping to build some form of bipartisan support for the package. 

In recnet days Mayors and Governors have publically supported the bill, which they say will provide a substantial economic boost to their resident thanks to the stimulus checks and unemployment benefits included. The bipartisan group appear to have found a common ground but that is far fromthe case in Congress, where it looks like reconciliation will be needed to pass the American Rescue Plan. 

Biden: Congress must "act quickly and pass the American Rescue Plan"

As the impeachment trial is brought to an end in the Senate there is now the opportunity for Democrats to pass the American Rescue Plan which President first proposed in early January. A jam-packed congressional schedule has bumped the stimulus bill down the pecking order but Biden is eager to move forward with reconciliation to get it passed.

Biden told reporters recently: “I believe the American people are looking right now to their government for help to do our job, to not let them down. So I’m going to act and I’m going to act fast." The package includes another round of stimulus checks and boosts the child tax credit substantially. 

Nevada residents desparately need Biden's American Rescue Plan

Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada has called on Congress to pass the stimulus bill proposed by President Biden in January so the federal government can start distributing the vital relief to those in need. Off all the inclusions in the $1.9 trillion package Horsford believes the unemployment benefits are most important to his residents, in a state that has suffered badly from the loss of tourism due to the pandemic. 

Also included in the bill is another round of stimulus checks, this time worth up to $1,400, and a healthy increase in the child tax credit allowance which would see parents given up to $300 a month. Speaking earlier this week, Horsford called on Congress to: "Drop the hypocrisy and let’s actually deliver for the American people."

Maryland General Assembly passes stimulus checks in new RELIEF Act

The state of Maryland has opted to provide a round of stimulus checks for some of its residents as Americans continue to wait for the federal government to agree the national direct payments. The new package will provide $300 checks for individuals and $500 for families who qualify for a state earned income tax credit. The bill has been passed and is expected to be signed into law on Monday. 

Gov. Larry Hogan said of the move: “The RELIEF Act will deliver more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for struggling families and small businesses. It will help Marylanders barely hanging on right now as we work to bring this global pandemic to an end."

Stimulus checks, covid-19 relief, etc could affect tax returns

Americans will be settled down to sort out their 2020 tax returns around now and the various forms of financial support offered in the stimulus bills can confuse things for come people. The stimulus checks, PPP loans and additional unemployment benefits provided to ease the pandemic's financial toll all need to be declared. 

Here, CNBC's personal finance expert Sharon Epperson gives a breakdown of everything you need to know. 

How to claim your stimulus check on 2020 tax return

The first stimulus checks, sent out in April 2020 were paid out up to $1,200 per person plus up to $500 per dependent. The second stimulus payment made in December 2020 was up to $600 per person and up to $600 per dependent. If your second stimulus check was a no-show, you can file a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.

This will be of particular interest to those who were classed as adult dependents in the past but now file their own tax returns. If this applies to you, you may be able to apply for retrospective payments which would be distributed as a tax credit. 

Read more: 

Will Democrats regret using reconciliation to pass Biden's American Rescue Plan?

After failing to find a bipartisan solution in Congress it looks like the next round of stimulus checks will come courtesy of a Senate mechanism known as reconciliation which allows the Democrats to pass the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill with a simple majority. 

Biden sees this as a necessary evil to get the vital relief passed as quickly as possible, but it could have consequences down the line for the Democrats. However the increase in federal spending on the stimulus bill means that there will be cuts to other government programmes unless further funding is agreed. The danger is that if Republicans refuse to do so, other area will be hit. 

“I don’t know whether to be concerned or not,” House Budget Chair John Yarmuth (Democrat) said in an interview recently. “I’ve been told not to be concerned.”

How much is the third stimulus check worth compared to previous rounds?

President Biden is attempting the pass his American Rescue Plan which includes a third round of stimulus checks, after his predecessor sent out two of the direct payments. The eligibility requrements, size of the check and speed of the distribution have all varied between checks as the IRS looks to get money to those in need as quickly as possible. 

In the past the Democrats accused the Republicans of not doing enough to support those worst hit by the pandemic, but how does Biden's proposal compare to Trump's relief spending? Here's a handy breakdown of the three rounds of direct payment. 

Trump acquittal may speed up the stimulus check distribution

The Senate impeachment trial may not end with a victory for the Democrats but the brief trial will at least allow President Biden to get on with passing the American Rescue Plan. The bill needs to be passed in the Senate before the third round of stimulus checks can be distributed so a lengthy trial would have delayed this further. 

Political analist Emma Vigeland says that this could see the stimulus bill passed before the mid-March, when the exisiting support expires. Some will argue that this is not what Biden promised with his claims of stimulus checks as soon as he took office, but is a reflection of the struggles the Democrats have had attempting to pass the bill. 

College students could be in line for extra stimulus check payments

In previous stimulus bills those classed as adult dependents have been excluded from receiving the direct payments that were sent to over 160 million Americans. However a change in eligibility requirements in Biden's American Resclue Plan looks set to allow around 13 million extra people to receive the $1,400 stimulus checks. 

Not only this, but some students may even be able to claim previous payments as a tax break when they file their tax returns in spring 2021. Those who have had a change of situation in the last year may be able to get an additional $1,800 on top of the $1,400 included in this round of payment. 

For more details, and information on how to apply for the support, read on:

Comprehensive stimulus bill boosts Biden's approval rating

A study carried out by Quinnipiac has suggested that President Biden may have succeeded in uniting the country, even if Congress remains divided on his American Rescue Plan. Biden ran on the promise of bringing unity and pledged to govern through consensus during the campaign. 

However after coming up against stiff opposition in the Senate he looks likely to be forced to use reconciliation to pass the stimulus checks without Republican support. Despite the partisan split in Washington his flagship policy, the $1.9 trillion federal funding package, has proved very popular with voters. If anything, Americans appear to be frustrated with how long it has taken for the bill to be signed into law and the diversion of Senate time for Trump's impeachment trial. 

How will the American Rescue Plan help small businesses?

The $1.9 trillion package proposed by Biden in early January provides much more than just stimulus checks and in an interview posted today by the White House Twitter account, the President talks with the owners of a restaurant from Atlanta, Georgia. The stimulus bill proposed includes funding for small businesses to keep them afloat but also to address the most pressing public health priorities. 

The plan includes around $400 billion to help Americans return to workplaces, restaurants, bars and schools with a huge nationwide vaccination effort. As the restuarant owners point out, widespread vaccination is crucial to ensure the US economy prospers in the long-term. 

How does the new stimulus check proposal compare to Trump's payments?

The latest round of stimulus checks is expected to be the largest to date with President Biden reaffirming his commitment to $1,400 direct payments. However with calls to make the support more targeted the eligibility requirements may be altered in comparison to previous rounds. 

How much can you expect to receive from the IRS in the third round of stimulus check? We take a look at the latest information as Congress begins the process to pass Biden's American Rescue Plan, and compare the proposal to the stimulus bill passed by President Trump. 

Full details: 

Detroit Mayor wants American Rescue Plan to be passed

President Biden is still hoping to get some form of bipartisan support for his stimulus bill despite widespread opposition from Republicans in Washington. He had hoped to rule by bipartisan consensus but it seems, on crucial matters like stimulus checks and child tax credits, the GOP are unwilling to give their support to Biden's proposal. 

The Mayor of Detroit met with Biden in the White House yesterday and told reporters: "We're really hoping that for the next couple of months, on this national issue, [lawmakers] can put partisanship aside". 

What is in the American Rescue Plan?

The Democrats are attempting to pass a stimulus bill which provides stimulus checks and child tax credits, but what else is included in Biden's flagship economy legislation? The $1.9 trillion package is intended to get the American economy through the worst of the covid-19 pandemic and there are a number of public health intitiatives involved. 

As this breakdown from Congresswoman Julia Brownley shows there will be a boost in funding for FEMA and greater infrastructure spending to give the economy a much-needed kick start. Some Republicans have claimed that the spending promised in this bill is too great but Biden has made clear that he will not risk under-funding the US economy at such a crucial moment. 

How to claim missing stimulus check payments

Everyone is waiting for Biden's American Rescue Plan and the third round of stimulus checks to be passed, but millions of Americans are still waiting for previous payments. The IRS oversaw the vast process which got checks worth $1,200 and $600 to over 160 million people but there were some who slipped through the gaps. 

Whether due to a change of status or address, incorrect details on the IRS system or simply an issue with the distribution network, it is not too late to claim your money. If this is you, here's our guide on how to claim the stimulus check on your tax return. 

How would Biden's minimum wage increase affect the economy?

Included in the American Recue Plan is a piece of legislation which would see the federal minimum wage upped from $7.25 to $15 per hour over the next four years. In a recent press conference in Washington House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed that this would be included in the stimulus bill that Democrats are attempting to pass. 

Some have suggested that this increase could hurt small businesses but economist Arindrajit Dube explains why he believes the proposal will boost the economy. The $15 per hour figure represents around 60% of the median wage, but he suggests that this figure could be upped to 80% without negatively affecting the jobs market. We do not yet know when the stimulus bill will be passed but it seems likely that the $15 minimum wage is the future for American workers. 

Senator in favour child tax credit expansion

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado has voiced his support for the increase in direct payments included in Biden's American Relief Plan. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package would see child tax credits upped to a monthly payment of $300 for children under six, and $250 for those aged between six and 17. 

As Bennet points out this is one of the measures aimed at tackling the growing wealth disparity in the United States. Biden has set the target of halving the number of children experiencing poverty through this package of economic stimulus. Now that a $940 billion portion of the bill has been approved by the House Ways and Means Committee there is a good chance that the legislation will be passed into law. 

Progress for the American Rescue Plan in Washington

The Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal has given his support to Biden's American Rescue Plan, which is edging closer to being passed in Congress. On Thursday evening the Committee approved a $940 billion package which comprises two of the key elements of Biden's stimulus package. 

The near-trillion dollars worth of federal funding will provide a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 and will fund a huge increase to the child tax credit system. 

Neal went on to say: “Over the last two days, the Ways and Means Committee has considered aggressive, science-based solutions that will deliver the urgent relief our country so desperately needs.”

$1.9 trillion stimulus relief bill: What aids and payments have been passed in House committees?

On Thursday another key part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan was passed as the Ways and Means Committee approved $940 billion of federal spending. The move comes despite strong opposition from Republican lawmakers but it is an expected step in the reconciliation process.

Included in the near-trillion dollars worth of funding was the much-anticipated round of $1,400 stimulus checks and a sizeable increase in child tax credits. The decision was passed by 25-18, with all members of the Committee voting along party lines.

Third stimulus check: does child support affect stimulus payments?

The American Rescue Plan is still yet to be passed by Congress but we know that President Biden's proposal looks to put struggling families first.

Full story...

$1,400 stimulus check will allow 22.6 million Americans to pay bills in full through mid-July - study finds

If $1,400 stimulus checks are approved by March 1, it would allow 22.6 million Americans to pay their bills in full through mid-July, according to a study released by Morning Consult.

In January, according to the report, around 30.2 million adults could not pay their bills, but after the $600 stimulus payments were approved, there was a 7% improvement from the months prior in terms of ability to pay.

If the next stimlus payment is raised to $1,400. it would mean that 22.6 million Americans will be in a position to pay their bills in full through mid-July without going into debt, according to the Morning Constult study's findings. 

 

How $1,400 stimulus checks compare to previous Covid-19 relief payments

Bloomberg has put together a graph showing how the $1,400 stimulus checks compare to payouts in the two previous relief bills, the CARES Act approved in March, which included $2,000 stimulus checks, and December's stimulus bill, which saw stimulus paymnents fall to $600.

Retail investor participation expected to rise due to stimulus checks

Bank of America has said it expects retail investor activity to rise once a third round of stimulus checks are sent out, as another round of stimulus payments could mean more liquidity for at-home traders.

“Based on prior activity around stimulus checks, we would expect another uptick in retail participation with another stimulus payment ahead,” Bank of America said.

Bank of America's statments come after an article publushed by Nasdaq identified Bumble, FuboTV and Target as three top stocks to buy with stimulus check money (see more on that a few posts below). 

Recurring stimulus checks needed until end of pandemic - says Natalie Foster

Natalie Foster, the co-founder and co-chair of the Economic Security Project, has argued that "Americans need recurring stimulus checks until the pandemic Is over" in an op-ed for Time Magazine.

"Giving people money is a proven, fast, equitable strategy to spur economic recovery," writes Foster.

"The truth is, we need recurring stimulus checks in addition to established progressive policies—like unemployment insurance and the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit—that uplift all Americans, especially communities of color, until this pandemic is over."

Foster's piece comes week after a number of Democratic lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasia Cortez and Ilhan Omar, called for recurring monthly stimulus checks worth $2,000.

The idea is also supported by Democratic representaive for Ohio, Tim Ryan. “'Research shows that just one more $1,200 stimulus check could keep 8 million Americans out of poverty, while two more checks could save 14 million from falling into poverty'," tweeted Ryan. "Imagine the difference $2,000/month would make."

Biden once again calls on Congress to pass stimulus bill quickly 

President Joe Biden has once again called on Congress to move swiftly and pass his $1.9 trillion American rescue plan, which includes provisions for a third round of stimulus checks worth $1,400.

"I see enormous pain in this country. A lot of folks are out of work. A lot of folks are going hungry, staring at the ceiling at night wondering, What am I going to do tomorrow? That’s why I’m urging Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan and deliver much-needed relief," tweeted Biden, who was one of the strongest proponents of $2,000 stimulus checks the second time round before Congress eventually approved a check worth just $600.

Biden's plan to distribute a third stimulus check worth $1,400 is to make up for that shortfall. 

Nasdaq outlines three top stocks to buy with stimulus check money

An article published on Nasdaq's website has identified three top stocks to buy for those who may be planning to invest their $1,4000 stimulus check once it comes through. 

Not everyone will need to spend their $1,400 stimulus check on immediate expenses, with many planning to save the money, while others will no doubt invest in stocks.

And according to the three Motley Fool contributors to the article published on Nasdaq, the three top stock options right now for stimulus check investors are: Bumble (NASDAQ: BMBL), FuboTV (NYSE: FUBO), and Target (NYSE: TGT), which they say are "primed to be winners".

 

Biden hits 62% approval rating as President pushes for approval of stimulus checks

In one of the first polls to ask Americans about their opinion of the new president's job performance, Joe Biden hit an approval rating of 62%, which is a higher first rating than any of the past four presidents. 

Many of those surveyed will no doubt be happy with the initiaitive Biden has shown in efforts to get his $1.9bn stimulus bill approved and his strong support for $1,400 stimulus checks. 

Biden recently called on Congress to work toward quick approval of his new Covid-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan.

"We don’t have a second to waste when it comes to delivering the American people the relief they desperately need. I’m calling on Congress to act quickly and pass the American Rescue Plan"

Pelosi offers timeline for stimulus check approval

House leader Nancy Pelosi has offered a timeline regarding the approval of a bill that would include a third round of stimulus checks worth $1,400.

"We hope to have this all done by the end of February," she said, adding that a bill could be on President Joe Biden's desk no later than the beginning of March.

On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the $1,400 stimulus payments to millions of Americans, as part of a COVID-19 relief package that is moving its way through the House rapidly. 

 

When was the second stimulus check sent out and how much was it?

President Biden is still waiting for Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan, but how does the third round of stimulus checks compare to previous payments?

Read more....

A third of Americans plan to save their $1,400 stimulus check

A new survey from Morning Consult, commissioned by Bloomberg, says 34% of Americans expect to put the third stimulus check towards saving - that’s an increase from 23% on the first $1,200 check approved back in March 2020.

30% say they’ll spend it on food, 22% on housing and 18% on credit card debt.

Unsurprisingly the wealthier households surveyed were more likely to say they’d save the check.

The survey will of course provide ammunition for those who are arguing for stricter eligibility for the third check - their reasoning is that people saving stimulus money clearly don’t need it and if it’s saved it doesn’t provide a boost to the economy by being spent on goods and services.

Interestingly though the Bloomberg article argues that saving followed by spending could be good for the economy, spreading out government support over time and avoiding a spending rush that pushes up inflation (not that inflation appears to be anywhere on the risk horizon right now).

How to turn your stimulus check into $25,000

We thought Micah Pollock, who is an associate professor of economics at Indiana University, was just joking in this tweet, but this actually is what the Motley Fool is recommending in their article (here if you want to check it out).

While it’s true what the Fool says - and it is good investing advice and shows the power of markets to turn small amounts into big amounts over the long term - it does rather feel that the headline is on the baity side of the click equation. I’m not sure a 25-year plan is what most people will be expecting or hoping for at seeing that…

Will the third stimulus check be taxable?

Whether the stimulus checks are taxable is one of the questions we see most frequently. The good news is it's a simple answer: no, none of the stimulus checks have been or will be taxable. 

The actual legal mechanism for the stimulus checks does go through the tax system, and can be a bit complicated to get your head round but they are not taxable.

The stimulus plan and working mothers

Alisha Haridasani Gupta, writing in the New York Times, has a good summary of the stimulus package, aimed specifically at working mothers, noting the plans “specific focus on the economic burdens carried by women”: these include public health measures with funding for covid-19 vaccine distribution and testing, and child care. Measures which “might help reverse the trend of women being pushed out of the work force.” That of course has been one of the mostly unreported tragedies of the pandemic - it has not hit all parts of society equally and working mothers have been particularly badly affected.

Biden’s plan calls for $130 billion to help reopen kindergarten-to-eight grade schools and $40 billion for child care - a $10 billion hike from the last stimulus package.

Fourth stimulus check?

We’ve had the first stimulus check, $1,200 - passed way back in late March 2020; the second stimulus check of $600 signed into law at the end 2020 and now the third check of $1,400 which looks certain to be passed, with some tweaking to be done over eligibility. But what’s the outlook for further covid relief payments?

A group of 50 House Democrats have called for recurring stimulus checks to be set up, rather than one-time payments, to be made as long as the pandemic carries on. This measure has a broad swathe of public support but does not have the backing at this time of Democrat leaders or apparently President Biden.

Dem leaders are also not making pronouncements on the possibility of any fourth of fifth one-time payment - understandable at this point when the details of the third check are still being thrashed out. But the reality is that with there being little chance of sufficient vaccinations being carried out to reach some level of herd immunity across the nation, and the economic impacts of the pandemic therefore carrying on well into 2021, there seems a high chance there will be societal need and political pressure to make the case for further checks. When that will happen is hard to say, but given the Democrats can now push legislation through on their own, it could actually be sooner rather than later.

dollars

US consumer sentiment ebbs in February despite additional stimulus hopes

US consumer sentiment unexpectedly fell in early February amid growing pessimism about the economy among households with annual incomes below $75,000, even as the government is poised to deliver another round of covid-19 relief  money.

The University of Michigan said on Friday its consumer sentiment index slipped to 76.2 in the first half of this month from a final reading of 79 in January. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index little changed at 80.8.

"More surprising was the finding that consumers, despite the expected passage of a massive stimulus bill, viewed prospects for the national economy less favorably in early February than last month," the University of Michigan said in a statement.

Yellen

Yellen urges G7 to 'go big' on stimulus, says U.S. committed to multilateralism

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Friday urged G7 finance leaders to 'go big' with additional fiscal stimulus to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and told them that the Biden administration was committed to multilateral engagement and fighting climate change. The Treasury said in a statement that Yellen emphasized the need to provide more fiscal support to promote a robust and lasting recovery, telling her G7 counterparts: 'the time to go big is now.'

When was the second stimulus check sent out and how much was it?

President Biden is still waiting for Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan, but how does the third round of stimulus checks compare to previous payments?

What aids and payments have been passed in House committees?

President Biden's American Rescue Plan is moving closer as a new round of stimulus checks and changes to child tax credits were approved by the Ways and Means Committee.

Cuomo

400 mayors write to Congress leaders urging them to pass Biden's relief package

​​​​​​400 mayors wrote to leaders in Congress earlier this month to urge them to pass Biden's relief package, but Republicans are backing a plan with a much smaller price tag.

Taking part in the Oval Office meeting were Republican and Democratic elected officials whose states and cities have been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

Many have seen tax revenues fall and costs soar as they race to vaccinate their citizens.

The group includes four governors, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, and five mayors, including Jeff Williams of Arlington, Texas, a Republican.

Williams, who met with Yellen virtually last week, said his city urgently needs the federal aid earmarked for state and local governments in Biden's rescue plan. He said cities were crushed when Congress removed similar aid from a previous relief bill that passed in December.

"We've been crippled. We haven't gotten help," Williams said in an interview. "Our property taxes are down and costs are way up. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican, this is the right solution so we can achieve economic growth much faster."

Yellen

Janet Yellen appeals for G7 collaboration with low-income nations

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told a meeting that G7 countries should work with international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, to address challenges facing low-income countries that are struggling to respond to the pandemic. Her statement made no mention of increasing IMF resources to aid struggling countries, nor a new issue of IMF Special Drawing.

IRS Economic Payment Tool

The governmental portal has now generated a tool for claimants to view Economic Impact Payment amounts, if any, within your online account.

CNBC's senior personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson offers tips ahead of filing taxes with the 2020 tax return campaign commencing on 12 February.

Third stimulus check makes it through House

Democrats pushed half of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief plan through a House committee 

more via ABC News

Biden/Harris

Biden package concerns

A research team including Harvard's Raj Chetty, best known for groundbreaking research on the slowing ability of the poor to move into the U.S. middle class, has suggested lowering the income cutoff for $1,400 "stimulus" checks from $75,000 might make sense because those making more than that won't spend the money fast enough to help the economy now.

Jason Furman, who chaired Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, has recommended the additional $400 in weekly unemployment insurance proposed by Biden be scaled back over time so people will be motivated to find jobs as the rollout of vaccines makes it safer to work.

"There is a risk of people taking too long to get into jobs, being too optimistic and ending up being long-term unemployed.

This risk was trivial relative to the need to support people in 2020, by this fall it will be more real," he wrote.

In his Friday debate with Summers, Krugman acknowledged stimulus checks had a weaker economic justification than other aid, such as unemployment insurance, but said: "They are also the most popular. That's part of making policy."

It's not clear if the debate will influence the outcome of a bill that may move intact through a Congress controlled by Democrats.

"It is going to pass with Kamala Harris’ vote," Krugman said. "And then we will find out" in coming months who was right.

Biden

Friendly fire erupts as economists spar over US stimulus

It's not surprising US President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus emergency plan touched off concerns that a gusher of federal spending on the possible eve of a vaccine-fueled economic take-off might lead to inflation.

What is surprising is who is doing the fretting: Not debt-hawk Republicans but former Treasury secretary, Democratic talwart and Harvard University professor Lawrence Summers, who in a recent Washington Post essay said the Biden plan could "set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation ... Stimulus measures of the magnitude contemplated are steps into the unknown."

Summers' critique, however, represents perhaps only the most prominent breach in what had seemed a broad consensus among economists that in responding to the pandemic - an unforeseen shock that brought a healthy economy to a standstill - it was near impossible to do too much.

Turns out that thinking is SO last year. As the details of the Biden plan work through Congress, the one-size-fits-all, spend-it-fast approach that fueled approval of the initial relief measures nearly a year ago has shifted to a more detailed argument over whether spending less might deliver a better result.

The debate has veered from economic wonkiness - what dataset best estimates household spending? how big is the "output gap" anyway? - to more recently resemble a family feud, replete with snarky tweets and, on Friday, a staged showdown between Summers and Nobel economics laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Wall St.

Stocks hit record highs; yields highest since March

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe rose for a 10th straight session on Friday and hit another record high as investors anticipated new fiscal aid from Washington to help the U.S. economy recover, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose to their highest levels since March.

​​​​​​US President Joe Biden pushed for the first major legislative achievement of his term, turning to a bipartisan group of local officials for help on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. The dollar was slightly higher, coming off its strongest level for the day, as risk appetite returned to the market.

IMF's Georgieva says G7 in 'full alignment' on stimulus, vaccines...

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday that G7 finance leaders were in 'full alignment' on a range of issues from fiscal stimulus to aid for poor countries.

Georgieva said in that the virtual meeting hosted by British finance minister Rishi Sunak was "substantive."

"Full alignment on access to vaccines, policy support until exit from the crisis, climate action, and comprehensive support for vulnerable countries," Georgieva tweeted.

Biden

US stimulus check: live updates

Welcome to our daily live blog bringing you updates on the progress being made in attempts to pass President Joe Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief package, which includes provision for a stimulus check of up to $1,400.

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