Third stimulus check updates: summary for 20 February

AS English

COMMENT

US stimulus checks, tax filing: live updates

Headlines:


- House Democrats advance $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill with $1,400 stimulus checks

- Rep. Lieu (Dem) pledges to pass stimulus check legislation "next week"(full story)

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

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 (full story)

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

- US retail sales rebound strongly in January amid additional stimulus

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

- 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: 28.06 million / 497,058 (live updates)

2021 TAX FILING

Tax return 2020: does it affect third stimulus check?

How does your tax return affect the third stimulus check?

This year's tax season comes with extra significance after a year where the federal government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on direct support for citizens struggling with the pandemic. The stimulus checks have been hugely popular, but some are still yet to receive money they are owed. 

If this sounds familiar then you may well be eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit, which must be requested as you file your 2020 tax returns. Looking forward, the information you submit now (and even the timing of the submission) could have a big impact on the amount you receive in the third stimulus check. 

For more information, and to check you are getting your full entitlement, read more:

California stimulus bill to provide boost for small businesses

Earlier this week Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new $9.6 billion state-wide relief bill aimed at providing immediate relief for those worst-hit by the pandemic. The proposal came as Congress is still yet to pass Biden's American Rescue Plan or the $1,400 stimulus checks included within. 

The California bill is state-funded and will see $600 stimulus checks sent to 5.7 million low-income Californians, defined as those earning less than $30,000 per year. The package is expected to be voted on this Monday with state officials eager to get the money out as swiftly as possible. 

In a statement released recently, Newsom said he was happy to "have reached an agreement on a package of immediate actions that will speed needed relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering the most significant economic hardship"

IRS Tax Return Update: Where's My Refund?

Little over a week into tax season 2021 and the IRS have confirmed that they are experiencing significant delays on processing mailed documents. The extra wait, due in part to the pandemic, comes as the third round of stimulus checks appears to be drawing closer. 

As well as functioning as the federal tax authority, the IRS have also been in charge of the administration and distribution of the previous two rounds of stimulus checks. There are concerns that once the new payments are ready to be sent (likely some point in mid March) they could leave the IRS overwhelmed. 

WIth longer waits likely, the IRS have published new advice: "Expect delays if you mailed a paper return or had to respond to an IRS inquiry about your e-filed return. You should only call if it has been 21 days or more since you e-filed [or] "Where's My Refund" tells you to contact the IRS".

Lieu: Congress will pass stimulus checks soon

Democrats have confirmed that intend to officially table President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, in the House next Monday. There will be debate and discussion but the package seems destined to succeed now the Democrats have initiated the reconciliation process. 

"We will pass the American Rescue Plan legislation next week. It's a very good bill. And it's what the American people need during this challenging time," tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu of California, in response to the news. 

The new bill includes the much-anticipated third stimulus check, worth up to $1,400, which is expected to be distributed in the weeks after the bill is signed into law. Although that top amount now seems fairly fixed there is still uncertainty around the eligibility requirements, which some have suggested should be tightened to make the support more targeted. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: how will they be targeted?

Calls for stimulus checks to be more targeted

A month after President Joe Biden first took office it seems that he is finally close to agreeing terms of his flagship covid-19 relief package. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was first announced in early January and is set to be officially proposed in the House next week.

Biden had faced push-back from Republican lawmakers for the bill’s cost, but he has maintained that it is necessary spending. Included in the bill is a third round of stimulus checks, this time worth up to $1,400 per person, which he appears set on.

However there is still time for some alterations to be made before the bill is signed into law and some have speculated that Senators may look to make the direct payments more targeted, but what does this mean?

Read more:

How to get a missing stimulus check in you IRS tax return

It has been nearly a year since the first round of stimulus checks was agreed but some are still missing at least one of their previous payments. The IRS distributed over 160 million stimulus check payments in each of the two rounds to date but through a combination of distribution issues, administrative errors and just plain bad luck many are still without one. 

But the IRS has introduced the Recovery Rebate Credit to ensure that Americans who are still owed money can get it as quickly as possible. In theory up to $2,000 could be claimed as a tax refund on your 2020 tax return, which still needs to be completed by 15 April 2021. 

Continued calls for $2,000 stimulus checks

Rep. Rashida Tlaib has reaffirmed his belief that the Democrats need to ensure that a stand-alone $2,000 stimulus check is sent to vulnerable Americans as soon as possible. She refers to the direct payments as "survival checks", and says she has spent months urging her Washington colleagues to "wake up". 

As it stand Biden's American Rescue Plan includes a stimulus check worth $1,400, but some may be able to receive additional support. In California, a new bill announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom would see an extra $600 stimulus check sent to residents earning less than $30,000 per year. 

IRS tax return deadline may need to be extended

A group of Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have called on the IRS to extend the tax return deadline beyond April 15 in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Their letter reads:

"It has come to our attention that, due to the ongoing pandemic, many Americans continue to face the same challenges that necessitated extending the filing season last year."

Last year's extension was seen as an unavoidable consequence of the sudden impact of the pandemic on American life but it was hoped that, with adequate time to prepare this time around, they would have sufficient time to prepare. But with the third stimulus checks expected to be agreed in the coming weeks, the IRS could soon haveeven more on their plate. 

Widespread support for Biden's stimulus plan

A new study from the New York Times has suggested that the number of people who support Biden's large-scale stimulus bill is greater than previous packages. They found that six in 10 people (59%) said they approved of the December 2020 stimulus package passed by Congress, while 72% now approve of President Biden’s new $1.9 trillion proposal. 

Crucially, Biden's plan has also garnered bipartisan support, if not in Congress. A significant proportion of Republicans and GOP leaners (43%) also support the proposal, which will see $1,400 stimulus checks sent to eligible Americans. The Democrats appear resigned to using reconciliation to pass the third round of stimulus checks without support from the GOP counterparts, but it certainly seems that there is a consensus growing across the country. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Is a third stimulus check coming? When would the payment go out?

New stimulus checks could be sent out in March

As the Democrats announce that they intend to table Biden's American Rescue Plan on Monday, we get the clearest sign yet of when to expect the third round of stimulus checks to be passed and, most importantly, distributed. 

The $1,400 payments will be open to more Americans than previous rounds but with the IRS currently processing everyone's tax returns there are concerns that the distribution system for the checks could be disrupted. Once again, different groups are likely to receive their payments at different times, with the earliest arriving just a week after the stimulus bill is passed. 

Read more:

Concern about IRS stimulus check distribution

Lydia DePhillia, federal economic policy correspondent, has recounted dozens of tales of issues that Americans have had with the IRS as we head into tax season 2021. The opening date to get your tax returns in for 2020 was 12 February 2021 and you have until 15 April to do so. 

Last year the pandemic disruption saw the IRS forced to extend the deadline by weeks to catch up with all the processing required. Publically officials have said that they are better prepared this time around but DePillis is still concerned about the knock-on effect for stimulus check payments. 

It is possible that the IRS could be overburdened by the ongoing tax returns, a process complicated by the Recovery Rebate Credit, and the upcoming round of stimulus checks may be delayed. 

IRS way behind on 2019 tax returns

The federal body in charge of administrating the tax system have revealed that they are still yet to process around 6.7 million tax returns relating to the 2019 tax year. For many people this will have delayed distribution of the second stimulus payment worth $600, which is based on the most recent tax return information. 

The IRS will also be the ones distributing the upcoming round of $1,400 stimulus checks which are included in Biden's new economic relief plan. There are fears that this could be disrupted by the 2021 tax season, which officially began on 12 February. 

Those who are still yet to receive either of the previous two rounds of stimulus check payments can request the outstanding money in the form of a tax rebate on their new returns

RECAP: Biden's stimulus check proposal

After weeks of talks House Democrats are finally ready to officially table President Biden's American Rescue Plan in Congress next week. The $1.9 trillion package is the first major piece of economic relief legislation from Biden. 

Included in the bill is a $1,400 stimulus check with wider eligibility requirements than previous rounds of direct payments. There is also a significant boost for unemployment benefits, child tax credits and plans for a new $15 per hour federal minimum wage. The latter is scheduled to come into force gradually over the next five years. 

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Third stimulus check: what's the maximum amount of money per family?

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?

According to reports from Washington, The House Budget Committee will meet on Monday at 13:00 to consider the $1.9 trillion covid-19 aid bill sought by Biden and congressional Democrats after publishing the legislative text in support of the US president's American Rescue Plan.

Investors wary of surge in Treasury yields

The US 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 US 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.

Biden: "We have to go big"

The US president said of a covid relief package "now's the time we should be spending. Now's the time to go big," as he questioned the wisdom of sitting back and keeping the purse strings shut.

2021 TAX FILING

How to track your tax refund 2021 status in IRS web

How to track your tax refund 2021 status in IRS web

The deadline to submit you tax returns for the 2020 tax year in 15 April 2021. This means you have less than two months to get your returns to the Internal Revenue Service and this year’s filing could be a bit more complicated for millions of Americans.

Not only do the IRS serve as the federal agency for processing tax returns,they were also in charge of administrating stimulus check distribution throughout the pandemic. Some who missed out on previous stimulus check payments will need to apply for the remaining money as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.

Full story:

Can college students request the third stimulus check payment?

For the first time, college students classed as adult dependents will now be eligible for stimulus checks but they will not be able to receive them personally. Adult dependents are those who are cited on another taxpayer’s return.

This means that the payment will be added to the other party’s stimulus check entitlement, most likely their parent’s in the case of a college student. Households can therefore expect to receive significantly more in the next round of payments.

As it stands it is thought that the threshold for eligibility will remain the same as previous rounds, but with some slight adjustments. The full amount will be available for individuals earning up to $75,000 per year, or $150,000 for couples who file jointly. However, once your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds those amounts the stimulus check entitlement phases out more abruptly than in the past. Single taxpayers earning over $87,000 will not be eligible for any stimulus check payments.

Students who finished college last year may well have become financially independent during 2020, meaning that their status will have altered by the time they file their tax return in spring 2021. This change in situation would make them eligible for payment and Janet Holtzblatt of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center says this will allow them to pick up previous checks.

Chuck Schumer: "The chamber will pass the bill before March 14"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat), said his deeply divided chamber will pass the bill before March 14, when the latest round of federal unemployment benefits expire.

While Schumer said he welcomed "constructive amendments" by Republicans, he added in a letter to rank-and-file Democrats: "Make no mistake: the era of Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard is over."

Senator McConnell, a Republican, served as majority leader from 2015-2020 and had proudly labeled himself the "Grim Reaper" of legislative initiatives from the Democratic House.

Included in the House bill is a controversial proposal to gradually raise the federal minimum wage, now set at $7.25 an hour, to $15 by 2025.

Peter Franchot: "98% of Maryland stimulus payments processed"

​​​​​​Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Friday that 98 percent of stimulus payments have been processed within four days of the RELIEF Act becoming law.

The IRS says it's sent out all stimulus checks: here's what to do if you didn't get one

The IRS has a message for people still waiting on federal stimulus payments: The money is already out the door.

The tax agency said this week that it has sent more than 160 million checks - $1,200 for adults and $500 for children - directed by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), which represented the first round of stimulus payments sent to most U.S. households. Starting in December, it also sent more than 147 million payments for the second round of checks, which offered $600 for each eligible adult and child. 

Altogether, the IRS has disbursed more than $410 billion in so-called Economic Impact Payments, emergency relief to help tide people over during the pandemic, to U.S. households since April. Yet while those checks have been delivered to most eligible individuals, the IRS has struggled to reach some of the most financially vulnerable Americans, such as those who lack bank accounts or who don't earn enough money to file tax returns. 

"If individuals didn't receive a payment - or if they didn't receive the full amounts - they may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return," the tax agency said in a statement. 

Democratic drive for Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan could leave progressive priorities behind

Reuters - As Democrats battled over the wage increase, a dispute also broke out over liberals’ call for canceling $50,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers.

The sprawling covid-19 relief package - which would be one of the largest stimulus measures ever passed by Congress - is Biden’s top priority as he grapples with a pandemic that has killed nearly 500,000 Americans, thrown millions out of work and bruised the economy.

The proposal includes Senator Bernie Sanders’ goal of gradually raising the national minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, from the current $7.25.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a leading progressive voice in Congress, noted that even Republican-controlled Florida, which voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020, is raising its minimum wage to $10 beginning in September from the current $8.65, en route to $15 in 2026.

Full story via Reuters here.

2021 TAX FILING

Tax return 2020: does it affect third stimulus check?

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.

Tax season is upon us once again as Americans have to file annual tax returns with the IRS. However, this year is a bit different with some new terms, new payments and even greater consequences.

President Biden answers questions via Twitter

The US President answers some quickfire questions covering matters such as vaccine production and the next stimulus checks.

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3600 Child Tax Credit: how's the current negotiation for it?

$3600 Child Tax Credit: how's the current negotiation for it?

President Biden’s first major piece of legislation is being set up for a vote in the House before the end of next week with Democrats releasing their vision of the American Rescue Plan. The text of the House bill aligns closely to the framework set out by the White House.

The new bill includes an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, an extension of $400 federal unemployment benefits, more money for small businesses barely staying above water in the pandemic and the highly expected $1,400 stimulus checks for Americans making $75,000 or less a year. Also included in the bill is a provision to for enhanced Child Tax Credit that could see American families receiving up to $300 per child per month beginning in July.

Full story:

Biden

Biden: "This is the United States of America, for God’s sake"

On Friday, President Joe Biden defended the $1.9 trillion price tag of his coronavirus stimulus bill, challenging opponents, “What would they have me cut?”

Speaking at a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Biden said the size of the bill matched the size of the need.

“Critics say my plan is too big, that it costs $1.9 trillion,” Biden said. “So that’s too much. Well, let me ask them: What would they have me cut? What would they have me leave out?”

Biden ticked off some of the proposed spending, including $20 billion to vaccinations, $290 billion to extend unemployment insurance, $50 billion for small businesses, $130 billion for schools, and $3 billion for nutrition programs.

“This is the United States of America, for God’s sake,” Biden said. “We invest in people who are in need.”

The legislation also includes stimulus payments of $1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000 and $2,800 for couples making up to $150,000, plus $1,400 for each dependent. The payments phase out for individuals making more than $100,000 and couples making more than $200,000. (nj.com)

Biden economic stimulus package broken down

Biden

Quinnipiac Poll shows 7/10 Americans support Biden stimulus package

The Biden plan economic stimulus is currently before Congress as Democrats debate whether to push the package through without a compromise with Republicans. The Democrats hold narrow majorities in the House and Senate.

Quinnipac poll data here

Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

Third stimulus check: what's the maximum amount of money per family?

Third stimulus check: what's the maximum amount of money per family?

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?

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania: how to claim the weekly payment

Unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania: how to claim the weekly payment

Residents who have exhausted their state or federal jobless payments can use the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programme to extend the weekly payments.

File electronically and get your refund faster

The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that the fastest way to get their tax refund is by filing electronically and choosing direct deposit.

 

snow

US weather-related disasters cost $1 billion last year

The rising number of expensive weather-related disasters in the United States - 22 costing at least $1 billion each just in the last year - could help drive awareness of the need for change, even in the "hyper-partisan" U.S. context, stated Rachel Cleetus, climate and energy policy director for the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists,

"The politics and the policy have to bend to the science, not the other way around," she said. "We can't negotiate with the science."

The United States rejoined the Paris Agreement on Friday, under its new President Joe Biden after just three months out of the accord.

Former President Donald Trump declared in 2017 the country would leave the agreement because he believed it would bring economic disadvantage - but the formal process meant the exit took effect only last November, one day after Biden's win.

Re-entering the pact - something Biden put in motion on his first day in office on Jan. 20 - is a far swifter process. The move lays the groundwork for a more unified approach to climate action in the United States - where it had been led chiefly by states, cities and companies - and internationally, where the absence of the world's second-biggest emitter slowed progress.

Biden has said he intends to use a share of $2 trillion in expected coronavirus stimulus spending to drive a transition to a cleaner and fairer economy, including rolling out a nationwide electric-vehicle charging network.

Bitcoin

Billionaire Jeff Gundlach says bitcoin beats gold as ‘stimulus asset’

A long-time gold bull and prominent investor Jeffrey Gundlach has had his head turned by cryptoassets, after noting that bitcoin — and not gold — might be the next big market stimulus.

Full story via FT here

Oakland

US weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rise 

The number of Americans filing first-time applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the labor market is steadily recovering as additional fiscal stimulus and falling covid-19 cases allow more services businesses to reopen.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totaled a seasonally adjusted 861,000 for the week ended Feb. 13, compared to 848,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 765,000 applications in the latest week.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Second stimulus check: how many $600 direct payment have been sent?

IRS: All stimulus checks have been sent

The IRS has confirmed that it has finished distribution of the $600 stimulus check payments included in the emergency covid-19 relief bill signed into law last December.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 stimulus check California: how will I get it, cash, credit card or bank transfer?

California stimulus check

This week lawmakers in California announced that they had agreed details of a $9.6 billion covid-19 relief package which includes a new round of $600 stimulus checks for the state’s lowest income earners. The plan was announced by Governor Gavin Newsom and appears to be a tweaked version of the Golden State Stimulus plan he proposed last month.

Wall st.

Stocks on Wall Street closed near break-even

Stocks on Wall Street closed near break-even on Friday as investors sold technology shares that have rallied through the pandemic and rotated into cyclical stocks set to benefit from pent-up demand once the coronavirus pandemic is subdued.

Industrials led rising sectors in the S&P 500, spurred by a 9.9% surge in Deere & Co and Caterpillar's 5.0% gain to an all-time peak of $211.40 a share.

Financials, materials and energy, along with industrials, rose more than 1%. The S&P 1500 airlines index jumped 3.5%, with post-pandemic travel in focus.

The stay-at-home winners, including Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Alphabet's Google and Netflix Inc , fell in a trend seen for most of the week. Amazon.com Inc also fell, as investors sold the leaders in the big rally since last March.

Value stocks rose 0.6% while growth fell 0.6%. Advancing stocks led declining shares by about a 2:1 ratio. A battle continues between tech-led growth stocks and cyclicals, companies that are heavily affected by economic conditions, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

USA

Covid pandemic leads to shortage of critical goods

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted labor at both suppliers and manufacturers, leading to shortages of goods critical to the production processes. Motor vehicle manufacturers have been hit by a semiconductor chip shortage, leading some to temporarily close assembly plants this month.

General Motors announced it would take down production entirely at its Fairfax plant in Kansas City recently and Ford Motor has reduced shifts at its Dearborn truck plant and Kansas City assembly plant.

The supply chain bottlenecks, which are widespread across the manufacturing sector as well as the services industry, have led to higher prices for inputs, including raw materials. The survey's measure of prices paid by manufacturers shot up to its highest level since April 2011. A gauge of prices received by factories surged to its highest level since July 2008.

Though price pressures are expected to rise as last year's low readings drop out of the calculation, there is no consensus among economists whether higher inflation would stick beyond the so-called base effects.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week while he expected inflation to be boosted by base effects and pent-up demand when the economy fully reopens, that would be transitory,  citing three decades of lower and stable prices.

The inflation outlook will likely hinge on the labor market, which is currently experiencing considerable slack, with at least 18.3 million Americans on unemployment benefits.

Factory

US factory activity slows with cost pressures mounting

US factory activity slowed in early February likely as a global semiconductor chip shortage hurt production at automobile plants, while prices of inputs and manufactured goods soared, which could heighten fears of strong inflation growth this year.

The report from data firm IHS Markit on Friday also showed businesses in the services industry were experiencing higher costs related to the procurement of personal protective equipment, a greater proportion of which they were passing on to clients "through a marked rise in selling prices."

Inflation is being closely watched amid concerns from some quarters that President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion rescue package could cause the economy to overheat. The package would be on top of nearly $900 billion in additional fiscal stimulus provided at the end of December.

Peter Franchot: "98% of Maryland stimulus payments processed"

​​​​​​Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced Friday that 98 percent of stimulus payments have been processed within four days of the RELIEF Act becoming law.

Dollars

Maryland and California plan to send independent stimulus to eligible residents 

Both states have passed legislation distributing stimulus checks of $600 and $300 per person, respectively, to qualifying residents.

More here

IRS warns against latest scam doing the rounds

​​​​​​The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry have warned tax professionals of a new scam email that impersonates the IRS and attempts to steal Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs).

US NEWS

Walmart raises average hourly wage to $15: why, when and who is receiving it?

Walmart raises average hourly wage to $15: why, when and who is receiving it?

The retail giant announced a pay increase for 425,000 employees but their hourly minimum wage lags behind competitors like Amazon, Best Buy and Target.

Walmart has announced that they will be introducing company-wide pay increases which will see the average hourly wage reach $15 an hour. It will provide a considerable bump in earning for some staff but critics have pointed out that many employees will still be earning around $11 an hour.

supermarket

$1,400 stimulus payments would help keep 20 million adults afloat through to July

Report via CNBC

Tanden

Democratic senator opposes Biden budget pick, confirmation in doubt

Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin announced on Friday that he would oppose President Joe Biden's nomination of Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, which could sink the nomination.

Tanden has been criticized by Republicans over her past harsh comments on social media, such as calling Mitch McConnell, the party's leader in the Senate, "Moscow Mitch" and saying "vampires have more heart than (Senator) Ted Cruz." 

Many Democrats scoffed at such concerns, noting near-unanimous Republican support for former President Donald Trump, who was accused of inciting a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol partly via inflammatory comments on Twitter and was known for blasting those he saw as opponents - particularly women - as "nasty" or criminals who should be locked up.

Manchin cited Tanden's "public statements and tweets" in his statement. "I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget," he said.

If every Senate Democrat supported Tanden, she could have been confirmed without Republican votes since Democrats control 50 seats in the chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris can  break a tie. However, Manchin's opposition means Tanden must be supported by a least one Republican to be confirmed.

California stimulus

The "Golden State Stimulus" is set to include $600 checks for vulnerable Californians & $25,000 grants for small businesses.

Congress

Problems being faced by new stimulus initiative

The provision faces multiple difficulties: Republicans oppose it and at least two moderate Senate Democrats have warned they, too, would vote against it, which would sink the wage increase in a Senate split 50-50.

More importantly, the Senate parliamentarian might prohibit the measure altogether, under arcane Senate rules governing "reconciliation" bills such as this one that allow it to move through the chamber by simple majority votes. Most other bills need to have the backing of at least 60 senators to clear procedural hurdles.

The House Budget Committee is set to meet Monday to weigh amendments to the bill before sending it to the full House for debate and passage.

Chuck Schumer: "The chamber will pass the bill before March 14"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Democrat), said his deeply divided chamber will pass the bill before March 14, when the latest round of federal unemployment benefits expire.

While Schumer said he welcomed "constructive amendments" by Republicans, he added in a letter to rank-and-file Democrats: "Make no mistake: the era of Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard is over."

Senator McConnell, a Republican, served as majority leader from 2015-2020 and had proudly labeled himself the "Grim Reaper" of legislative initiatives from the Democratic House.

Included in the House bill is a controversial proposal to gradually raise the federal minimum wage, now set at $7.25 an hour, to $15 by 2025.

Nancy

House Democrats advance $1.9 trillion covid-19 aid bill

President Joe Biden's push for a $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill took a step forward on Friday as a U.S. House of Representatives committee unveiled the legislation Democrats hope to pass by late next week.

The 591-page bill, stitched together by the House Budget Committee, would carry out Biden's proposals to provide additional money for covid-19 vaccines and other medical equipment.

Biden toured a Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant in Portage, Michigan, amid efforts to ramp up production, with only about 15% of the U.S. population vaccinated against the coronavirus so far.

He said he was open to proposals to make the package less expensive. Referring to Republican critics, Biden said, "Let me ask them what would they have me cut, what would they have me leave out."

Besides the additional funding for medical supplies, major components of the massive aid plan focus on stimulating the country's economy, which has struggled over the past year under job layoffs and shuttered businesses resulting from a pandemic that has killed nearly 500,000 Americans. The plan would offer direct payments to households, extended federal unemployment benefits, aid to state and local governments, and other steps.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she was aiming for a vote in the Democratic-controller chamber on passing the bill -- a top priority of the new Democratic Biden administration -- by the end of next week.

Walmart posts strong sales numbers

Walmart Inc beat expectations for same-store sales growth on Thursday, as an early start to the holiday season and a boost from stimulus money late in the fourth quarter drove demand for electronics, toys and groceries.

Walmart, which employs 1.5 million people in the United States, also said it was raising wages for its workers in the country to more than $15 per hour on average.

Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year surged 8.6%, excluding fuel, in the three months ended Jan. 31, well above analysts' expectations of a 5.6% rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Online sales rose 69% in the quarter, blowing past a 35% increase in the year-earlier period, but slower than a 79% surge in the third quarter.

 

Joe Biden

Biden plans to use some of $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus to drive a cleaner and fairer economy

President Biden's swift 180-degree turn on U.S. climate policy, combined with rapidly falling costs for clean energy, mean "the signal to investors and markets couldn't be clearer: the destination is net zero by mid-century", Richard Black of the UK's Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this week that Biden's commitment to net-zero emissions meant "countries producing now two-thirds of global carbon pollution are pursuing the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050", though that coalition still needed to become "truly global and transformative".

In Biden's first month in office, he has set up a cabinet designed to consider climate concerns in all U.S. policy-making, and pushed through a range of executive orders to reverse Trump policies widely seen as hurting the climate and environment.

Biden has said he intends to use a share of $2 trillion in expected coronavirus stimulus spending to drive a transition to a cleaner and fairer economy, including rolling out a nationwide electric-vehicle charging network.

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3600 Child Tax Credit: how's the current negotiation for it?

$3600 Child Tax Credit: updates

​​​​​​President’s Biden’s first major piece of legislation is being set up for a vote in the House before the end of next week with Democrats releasing their vision of the American Rescue Plan. The text of the House bill aligns closely to the framework set out by the White House.

Stimulus

IRS maintain all first and second round stimulus checks are distributed 

Didn't get a check that you were anticipating? Here's what to if so.

Story via CBS

dollar

US dollar nurses losses after jobs data mars recovery outlook

 The US dollar paused on Friday after its biggest loss in 10 days as disappointing US labour market data bruised optimism for a speedy recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

The string of soft labour data is weighing on the dollar even as other indicators have shown resilience, and as President Joe Biden's pandemic relief efforts take shape, including a proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.

"The prospect of a massive U.S. fiscal stimulus plus a successful vaccine roll-out are solid arguments to bet on a U.S. recovery this year," Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australia Bank in Sydney, wrote in a client note.

2021 TAX FILING

How to track your tax refund 2021 status in IRS web

How to track your tax refund 2021 status in IRS web

The IRS are ready for your 2020 tax returns and you can check the progress of any refunds you are owed, such as the Recovery Rebate Credit, using a handy online tool.

2021 TAX FILING

Tax return 2020: does it affect third stimulus check?

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.

Tax season is upon us once again as Americans have to file annual tax returns with the IRS. However this year is a bit different with some new terms, new payments and even greater consequences.

Hello and welcome to our live blog for Saturday 20 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.

.