Third stimulus check news summary: 19 February 2021

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Third stimulus check updates: IRS tax return, $600 California, release date, who gets, how much | Live

Stimulus check live updates - 19 February

Headlines:


- Gavin Newsom of California confirms a bill providing a new round of $600 stimulus checks for residents in on its way (full story)

- House Democrats release details of stimulus bill to be tabled next week

- In Maryland stimulus checks could start arriving today with residents (who's eligible?)

- Your IRS tax return may affect your third stimulus check amount (full story)

- IRS says all first and second stimulus checks have now been sent

-The House Ways and Means Committee approved third federal stimulus check and expanded child tax credit (full story)

- Progressives continue to push for $2,000 recurring stimulus checks

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

- IRS issues guidelines on claiming stimulus checks as we enter tax season (how to claim)

- Democrats continue working on draft of stimulus relief bill while Senate is in recess (full story)

- Study says child tax credit expansion and stimulus check boost could halve child poverty in the US

- Get the latest stimulus check news in Spanish (las noticias sobre los cheques de estímulo en español)

- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 27.89 million / 493,098 (live updates)

Biden on: stimulus checks, vaccine production, and more.

Wall St

Wall St Week Ahead-Rising U.S. bond yields pose new threat to sky-high stocks

The U.S. stock market has so far digested a surge in Treasury yields, but some investors are worried that a continued ascent could prove more problematic.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note , which rises when bond prices fall, climbed to a one year high of 1.36% this week, fueled by expectations that progress in the countrywide vaccination program and further fiscal stimulus would further spur economic growth.

So far, stocks have responded with little more than a wobble. But some investors worry that a continued rise in yields on Treasuries -- which are backed by the U.S. government -- could dim the allure of comparatively riskier investments such as equities and weigh on the S&P 500 that has risen about 75% since last March.

"When ... government bond yields rise, all asset prices should reprice lower -- that’s the theory," said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, adding that he does not believe yields have yet risen far enough to provide an competitive alternative to stocks.

The rise in yields comes as the S&P 500 hovers near all-time highs at the end of a fourth-quarter earnings season that has seen companies overall report earnings 17.2% above expectations, according to Refinitiv data. Earnings will continue to be in focus next week along with data tracking the economic recovery and developments with President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

How to check your IRS tax return online

Tax season has come around again and this year brings with it some extra complications. Not only is the IRS responsible for the tax return process, it has also administrated stimulus check distribution over the last year. 

If you missed out on a direct payments then you should be able to get the money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return. To check the status of this and any other paments you may be owed, there is a handy 'Where's My Refund' online tool you can use. 

Full details:

How much will Biden's stimulus bill affect the economy?

The American Rescue Plan proposed by President Biden is hoped to kick-start the American economy, and financiers JP Morgan have suggested that the likely package will have a considerable effect. The $1.9 trillion bill includes stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, but also billions of dollars in financial stimulus to help support the US jobs market. 

JP Morgan's projections predict that the actual package signed into law will cost slightly less, at around $1.7 trillion, but suggest this will help get the jobs market back to pre-pandemic rates by the second quarter of 2022. Not only that but they project an annual GDP growth of 6.4% across 2021. 

$3600 Child Tax Credit where the negotiations stand

Biden's promise of providing greater economic relief appears to be edging closing as his American Rescue Plan is set to be finally tabled in Congress next week. The $1.9 trillion bill includes a round of stimulus checks worth $1,400 per person and a considerable increase on the child tax credit programme, amongst other things. 

The child tax credits are not available for all parents but will provide a significant sum for those who do qualify for the support. The programme, previously administered by the IRS in the form of a tax rebate, may switch to a direct monthly payment to bring it closer in style to the stimulus checks which have proved so popular. 

Read more:

What is in Biden's stimulus relief bill?

The President's American Rescue Plan includes $1.9 trillion worth of federal funding which he hopes will provide much needed financial assistance for millions of Americans, as well as helping to turn the tide on the ongoing public health crisis. 

Most of the provision is expected to stay intact as the bill passes through Congress, but there may be room for negotiation on who gets the $1,400 stimulus check payments. Biden had hoped to widen eligibility for this, the third round of payments, but a non-binding Senate resolution passed last week called for the support to be focused on those most in need. 

Breakdown of the California stimulus check

While Congress prepares to pass President Biden's American Rescue Plan, lawmakers in California have wasted no time and are expected to vote on Monday on a new relief bill which would see $600 stimulus checks sent to eligible residents.

Those earning less than $30,000 a year will be entitled to the direct payments, as will some who were exlcuded from previous stimulus checks sent out by the Trump administration. 

“People are hungry and hurting,” California Senate leader Toni G. Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, said in a statement. “I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Can I get my stimulus check?

In a video posted on the @POTUS and @WhiteHouse Twitter acoutns, President Biden confirms that the $1,400 stimulus checks will be making their way out to Americans soon. The bill, details of which were released earlier today, will finally make it to the House next week before heading to the Senate. 

 

Can you receive a stimulus check if you don't file taxes?

We're into tax season 2021 and things are a bit more complicated with the IRS also responsible for processing billions of dollars worth of stimulus check payments. In the past non-filers have been able to receive their stimulus checks if they submit their details separately, but that is not the case for this round of payment. 

An estimated 8 million people who don’t normally file taxes may have to file in order to get their direct payments form the federal government. The $1,400 stimulus checks are expected to be approved and distributed in the coming weeks so make sure you get things in order to avoid missing out. 

Read more:

Biden defends American Rescue Plan stimulus bill

It has been confirmed that House Democrats will be tabling the American Rescue Plan next week as President Biden's covid-19 stimulus bill finally begins to make progress. The $1.9 trillion package was criticised as being too big by some, but Biden has reaffirmed his commitment to passing meaningful legislation to address the pandemic's economic consequences. 

He told reporters: "24 million adults and 11 million children don't have enough food to eat". Included in the plan are a number of measures aimed at providing immediate relief to those who are suffering, through stimulus checks, additional unemployment benefits and a huge extention to the child tax credit programme. 

New stimulus bill officially tabled in the House

President Biden's new large-scale stimulus bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, was finally unveiled by Democrats in the House of Representatives today after weeks of talks in Congress regarding its future. Biden had hoped to garner bipartisan support for the proposal but after facing almost unanimous opposition from the Republicans his party will now look to pass the bill using reconciliation

The $1.9 trillion package includes the hotly-anticipated third round of stimulus checks, this time worth up to $1,400 per person. The stimulus checks were particularly controversial with GOP lawmakers calling for the direct payments to be reduced and the eligibility requirements to be tightened. However it seems that the final bill will be fairly close to Biden's intitial proposal. 

Will Biden stimulus plan cause inflation? The IMF doesn’t think so 

IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath says the institution sees only limited inflation risk, a rebuttal to some critics who worry about the American economy overheating. This comes after IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned if fiscal support isn’t maintained until there’s a sustained exit from the health crisis the US could face unprecedented bankruptcies and unemployment. 

The fund estimates that Biden’s $1.9 trillion proposed package would increase US GDP by 5% or more over three years. The Fed sees inflation of around 2.25% in 2022, above the 2% target, but that allows for recovering from previous inflation shortfalls.

Along with sending out stimulus checks, Biden wants to reopen schools 

within his first 100 days in office President Biden wants to get children back into school, but not until it is safe. So when will it be safe for kids to go back to school? Part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan dedicates $130 billion to help schools to safely reopen. 

The CDC has recently released a road map for bringing students back to in-person instruction. The guidance stresses five ways to mitigate risk: Requiring masks, physical distancing, handwashing, maintaining clean facilities and contact tracing. 

More than 65.3 million children live in "high-transmission" communities, which is defined by the CDC as a county where there is a test positivity rate of at least 10% during the past seven days. That represents about 89% of children in the US live in a county considered a "red" zone under that new guidance.

Bipartisan call for American Rescue Plan stimulus plan 

The mayors of Phoenix and Mesa offer up an op-ed arguing that President Biden’s covid-19 relief plan is ambitious, but the novel coronavirus pandemic calls for a bold solution. As those leading cities, they see the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic up close and personal.  

Kate Gallego (D) and John Giles (R) counter the criticism that the $350 billion in funding assistance for state and local governments is not a bail out for mismanagement.  

“We have shown ourselves to be trusted stewards of taxpayer dollars. As mayors, we need Congress to understand that we will treat this new American Rescue Plan funding with the same respect. We also need them to understand it is a necessity for states and cities.”

Hurdles for inmates and their families to collect stimulus checks 

There are 1.4 million people incarcerated in prisons across the US, for whom obtaining a stimulus check has been plagued by problems since spring last year. The CARES Act included language on the original $1,200 Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks, protecting them from many types of debt collection.  

However it lacked safeguards for how prison systems should distribute them, or what to do with the stimulus checks once they receive them. This has allowed corrections facilities to collect fines and fees associated with prisoners’ incarceration. Added to the problem, family members have been presented with many hurdles processing paperwork to claim the payments.

Covid-19 vaccines delayed by winter weather 

The US was slammed by a polar vortex dealing the first major setback to the Joe Biden administration’s planned swift rollout of covid-19 vaccines. About 6 million vaccines had been temporarily delayed due to the extreme cold weather from the Rockies to the East Coast, with Texas especially hard hit. 

The vaccination rollout had been making strides to meet the President’s stated aim of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office. Currently the US is administering over 1.8 million shots a day. Since 14 December, when vaccinations began more than 57 million doses have been administered, reaching 12.4% of the total US population.

GOP lawmakers won’t support stimulus bill 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise but Republican lawmakers in the House are being told not to vote for the $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill that Democrats are working. The GOP is calling the bill “Pelosi’s Payoff to Progressives Act”. 

Nancy Pelosi plans to bring the bill to the floor by the end of next week where in all likelihood it will pass. However the Democrats have a slim majority in the lower chamber as well as in the upper chamber of Congress. 

From there it will move on to the Senate where the Democrats are using budgetary reconciliation to pass the bill with a simple 51-vote majority. The road ahead isn’t guaranteed with at least two Democratic senators have expressed reservations about the proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. If the two were to vote against the bill the Democrats would only have 48 votes in an evenly split 50-50 Senate.

Covid-19 stimulus bill may hold surprise for drug makers 

Democrats’ $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief package features a provision that could cause some financial pain for some drug makers. The provision in the draft legislation aims to increase the amount paid in rebates by companies selling into Medicaid. The change could save the government perhaps $18 billion over a decade. 

There is no guarantee that the provision will make it through to the final bill though. One consequence would be that every time a company’s drug is prescribed, they may have to pay the state even though pharmaceutical are providing it for free.

Harris taps growing political power of women lawmakers

Vice President Kamala Harris met with female Democratic lawmakers and activists on Thursday to boost support for the White House's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill, highlighting the growing political power of women in Congress.

The virtual meeting, which a White House source said was likely the first of many that Harris will hold specifically with women in power, focused on how women have been affected by job losses, small business closures and a lack of childcare as well as how Biden's plan will address these issues. Nearly 400,000 childcare jobs have been lost since the outset of the pandemic, Harris said.

The covid-19 pandemic has had an outsized impact on women, who lost jobs at a higher rate than men and have struggled to return to the workforce because of the need to care for children unable to attend school.

Specific carveouts in the covid-19 relief bill are designed to address problems faced by women, including an investment of $40 billion in childcare, paid family leave for 100 million additional workers and an investment of $130 billion to help re-open K-12 schools safely.

"For me this is personal.... The longer we wait to act, the harder it will be to bring these women back into the workforce," Harris told the group, calling the situation where 2.5 million women have left the workforce a "national emergency."

That compares with 1.8 million men who have left the workforce during the same period, according to Labor Department data.

"In one year...the pandemic has put decades of the progress we have collectively made for women workers at risk," she said.

Harris said the package would "lift up nearly half of the children who are living in poverty in our country," a claim backed by analysis by Columbia University.

Governor Newsom has announced details of a new covid-19 relief bill that would see Californians receive direct payments worth up to $600, if eligible.

Democrat Congresswoman for NY AOC and Beto who lost narrowly to Cruz for senator raise a million for Texans

As Texas suffers its coldest weather and highest snowfall in 70 years, and power outages mean that residents are going without heat and some without drinkable water, senator Ted Cruz was spotted fleeing with his family to a resort and luxury hotel in Cancun, Mexico. Reports claim that he left his dog "Snowflake" behind in Texas.

Cruz has now admitted that it was a "mistake" and will make his way back to Texas. In the short time that the scandal broke, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez teamed up with "Beto", now a private citizen but previous Cruz rival have raised $1 million to help Texans who are suffering.

Tax return 2020: does it affect third stimulus check?

Your AGI could decide how much you get in your next stimulus check, here's all the information you need on how your tax return 2020 will affect stimulus.

Read the full story:

The 27-year-old who became a covid-19 data superstar

If only he could now predict when the third stimulus check will arrive!

Via Bloomberg: "In the contest over who could make the most accurate coronavirus forecast, it was global institutions vs. a guy living with his parents in Santa Clara.

"Spring 2020 brought with it the arrival of the celebrity statistical model. As the public tried to gauge how big a deal the coronavirus might be in March and April, it was pointed again and again to two forecasting systems: one built by Imperial College London, the other by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or IHME, based in Seattle.

"But the models yielded wildly divergent predictions. Imperial warned that the U.S. might see as many as 2 million covid-19 deaths by the summer, while the IHME forecast was far more conservative, predicting about 60,000 deaths by August. Neither, it turned out, was very close. The U.S. ultimately reached about 160,000 deaths by the start of August.

"The huge discrepancy in the forecasting figures that spring caught the attention of a then 26-year-old data scientist named Youyang Gu. The young man had a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another degree in mathematics, but no formal training in a pandemic-related area such as medicine or epidemiology. Still, he thought his background dealing with data models could prove useful during the pandemic.

"In mid-April, while he was living with his parents in Santa Clara, Calif., Gu spent a week building his own Covid death predictor and a website to display the morbid information. Before long, his model started producing more accurate results than those cooked up by institutions with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and decades of experience.

"While certainly not perfect, Gu’s model performed well from the outset. In late April he predicted the U.S. would see 80,000 deaths by May 9. The actual death toll was 79,926. A similar late-April forecast from IHME predicted that the U.S. would not surpass 80,000 deaths through all of 2020. Gu also predicted 90,000 deaths on May 18 and 100,000 deaths on May 27, and once again got the numbers right.

"Where IHME expected the virus to fade away as a result of social distancing and other policies, Gu predicted there would be a second, large wave of infections and deaths as many states reopened from lockdowns."

The 27-year-old who became a covid-19 data superstar

If only he could now predict when the third stimulus check will arrive!

Via Bloomberg: "In the contest over who could make the most accurate coronavirus forecast, it was global institutions vs. a guy living with his parents in Santa Clara.

"Spring 2020 brought with it the arrival of the celebrity statistical model. As the public tried to gauge how big a deal the coronavirus might be in March and April, it was pointed again and again to two forecasting systems: one built by Imperial College London, the other by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, or IHME, based in Seattle.

"But the models yielded wildly divergent predictions. Imperial warned that the U.S. might see as many as 2 million covid-19 deaths by the summer, while the IHME forecast was far more conservative, predicting about 60,000 deaths by August. Neither, it turned out, was very close. The U.S. ultimately reached about 160,000 deaths by the start of August.

"The huge discrepancy in the forecasting figures that spring caught the attention of a then 26-year-old data scientist named Youyang Gu. The young man had a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another degree in mathematics, but no formal training in a pandemic-related area such as medicine or epidemiology. Still, he thought his background dealing with data models could prove useful during the pandemic.

"In mid-April, while he was living with his parents in Santa Clara, Calif., Gu spent a week building his own Covid death predictor and a website to display the morbid information. Before long, his model started producing more accurate results than those cooked up by institutions with hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and decades of experience.

"While certainly not perfect, Gu’s model performed well from the outset. In late April he predicted the U.S. would see 80,000 deaths by May 9. The actual death toll was 79,926. A similar late-April forecast from IHME predicted that the U.S. would not surpass 80,000 deaths through all of 2020. Gu also predicted 90,000 deaths on May 18 and 100,000 deaths on May 27, and once again got the numbers right.

"Where IHME expected the virus to fade away as a result of social distancing and other policies, Gu predicted there would be a second, large wave of infections and deaths as many states reopened from lockdowns."

Tax filing 2021: how can I track my tax return?

You've got until 15 April 2021 to file your federal 2020 tax return. Here's how to get started and how you can track your tax rebate once it's done.

Read the full story:

Covid racism to blame in New York attack?

A 52-year-old Asian American woman required stitches after she was savagely shoved to the ground, hitting her head, as she was in line at a New York City bakery on Tuesday.

After the NYPD shared photos of the suspect, who was not wearing a face mask during the assault was apprehended Thursday morning and charged with assault and harassment, officials told ABC News. He was not charged with a hate crime, police said.

The suspect was "yelling out racial slurs, walks into my mom and shoved my mother on Main street and Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens today," the victim's daughter, Maggie Kayla Cheng wrote on Facebook. "He shoved her with such force that she hit her head on the concrete and passed out on the floor."

The nation has seen an uptick in crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community during the pandemic, and as the first cases of coronavirus were found in Wuhan, China, Donald Trump placed blame firmly at the country's door, calling it the "China virus."

Third stimulus check: what's the maximum I could get?

Congress are hashing out details of a third round of stimulus checks, so what are the eligibility requirements and what's the maximum available to families, and when Congress could pass the bill.

Read the full story:

Millions of Americans to use future stimulus to pay government back

In a bizarre turn of events and massive policy failing, many Americans say they might be forced to use the next round of government-provided stimulus checks to pay the government.

Emily Peck at the Huffington Post reports that the U.S. is about to face what has to be one of the more nonsensical policy failures of the pandemic: Millions of Americans, already struggling financially, could be hit with a huge tax bill because they received unemployment insurance last year.

Perversely, because of the relative generosity of the benefits passed by Congress last spring ― $600 a week on top of state benefits ― tax bills might reach into the thousands of dollars, according to a report released by The Century Foundation last week, as well as conversations HuffPost had with unemployed workers.

Households could see tax bills between $1,000 and $2,000, said Brian Galle, a professor at Georgetown Law School and the report’s co-author. Some bills could reach as high as $3,000; others may not owe money but won’t get the refunds they’re expecting. 

Ted Cruz feeling the heat while Texas freezes

Ted Cruz has admitted his decision to take a trip to Cancun a mistake, just as the state he represents as Senator was under the crush of one of the worst winter freezes Texas has seen in 70 years. He even asked the Houston Police Department assist during his departure from the airport. 

In a statement he said “Our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.” 

The  trip was immediately criticised after Twitter users posted photos of Cruz and his family at Houston's airport and aboard a flight bound for Cancun, Mexico.

Treasury Sec. Yellen says go big on stimulus

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said a large stimulus package is still necessary to get the economy back to full strength, despite momentum suggesting that growth is off to a faster start than anticipated in 2021. In a CNBC interview, the lead economic official in the Biden administration said the $1.9 trillion proposal could help the US get back to full employment in a year. 

Critics of the plan warn that the sweeping coronavirus relief package could supercharge the economy causing inflation as well as ballooning the federal debt. However Yellen said she’s not worried that all of the government spending could cause inflation down the road.

California to send stimulus checks to 5.7 million residents

Californian Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced a covid-19 relief bill worth $9.6bn which provides direct payments for millions of the state's low income earners.

Read the full story:

Speedy stimulus aids record recovery 

As the economy collapsed in 2008 and into 2009 lawmakers haggled over the size and scope of the recovery package delaying it five months from the onset of the crisis. That and the final package being insufficient to meet the challenge caused the recovery to drag out over the following decade.  

This time round however there was no lag in the response to the initial shock, helping the US bounce back faster. Bank of America global economist Ethan Harris says that the robust spending was far larger comparatively than the last time. Furthermore that the full effect of the stimulus will be felt once the economy reopens with savings rates at record levels.

RECAP: what's in California's stimulus bill?

On Wednesday California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that Democratic lawmakers in the state had agreed a $9.6 billion economic relief package to support those most at risk. The proposal is expected to be put to a vote early next week, and includes a round of $600 stimulus checks for low income earners in California. 

However the support goes much further than the direct payments and Newsom has gone on to give details of an extensive package of relief for small businesses. There are billions of dollars worth of tax breaks to ease the financial burden, while the negatively hit hospitality industry will not be required to pay for licenses for the next two years. 

Newsom said of the announcement: “As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most."

Wage increase for Walmart staff ahead of minimum wage proposal

As the Democrats look to get Biden's stimulus bill through Congress, Walmart bosses have decided to give around 425,000 staff a pay rise which will see the retailer's average hourly wage surpass $15 for the first time. However the actual increase varies from store to store with Walmart saying they are simply being “sensitive to geographies”.

But the move was criticised by Senator Bernie Sanders who has pushed for the $15 minimum wage to be included in the new stimulus package. He points out that this increase represents only a fraction of the approximately $83 billion that the Walton family have added to their net worth over the last three years. 

Read more:

Federal stimulus bill needed to address "poverty wages"

James E. Clyburn, Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, has thrown his support behind the proposed minimum wage increase included in President Biden's American Rescue Plan. The stimulus package would see the federal minimum waged increased to $15 per hour over the next five years, a huge increase on the existing $7.25 figure. 

This would provide long-term support for low income earners in the US, but the White House have made clear that more immediate relief is also required. Biden is still seeking support for a third stimulus check payment worth up to $1,400 per eligible American. The delay in Congress has seen states like b pass their own legislation, providing $600 stimulus checks for residents unable to wait for the vital support. 

VIDEO: Senator Atkins on $600 California stimulus checks 

Sen. Toni Atkins of the California state Senate was heavily involved in talks to agree a new covid-19 relief bill and has posted a video on Twitter outlining her hopes for the new legislation. The package provides more than $2 billion to provide a round of $600 stimulus checks for those earning less than $30,000, and for many who have been missed out of previous direct payments from the federal government. 

Atkins said the bill is focused on "immediate action which will provide the relief that so many desperately need". It is thought that a vote will be held as early as next Monday as lawmakers look to expedite the process. 

Hello and welcome to our live blog for Friday 19 February on stimulus checks, California state stimulus, IRS tax filing season and more.

We'll be here all day bringing you the latest updates as they unfold in the US. Who's eligible for what, when to expect checks and how to file your tax returns.

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