Third stimulus check news summary: 22 February 2021

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Stimulus relief bill updates on Monday 22 February

Headlines:

- House Budget Committee formally approves $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (back story)

- Democrats reaffirm commitment to passing third stimulus check worth $1,400 (full story)

- IRS tax return could decide your third stimulus check entitlement (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 consumer spending in January was up on previous year's thanks to stimulus check boost

- 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: 28.2 million / 500,310 (live updates)

California approve $600 stimulus checks in covid-19 package

Californians who qualify for a $600 state stimulus payment could see the money arrive as soon as a month after filing their tax returns under a $7.6-billion covid-19 economic relief package approved Monday by the state Legislature.

Crafted by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders last week, the pandemic assistance plan also includes more than $2.1 billion in grants and fee waivers for small businesses. Those companies can soon apply for the grants, followed by an approval process that state officials estimate would take 45 days.

An additional $2 billion in tax breaks for businesses is expected to be acted on by the Legislature this week, which would bring the total package to $9.6 billion.

More stimulus bill criticism

Utah's 4th congressional representative Burgess Owens is another vocal opponent of the content of Joe Biden's latest bill.

We must act swiftly to put an end to this pandemic and to stem the suffering felt by so many millions.”

Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker

What's in the stimulus relief bill?

Rather than listen and react to the cherry-picked selection of elements inside the new relief bill making its way through Congress, make sure you know what it covers.

Here NPR provides you with a summary of the key aspects:

Stimulus bill interogation

A consistent claim from those on the other side of the aisle is that Democrats are looking to push through other elements of their agenda in this latest stimulus relief package.

As Congressman Cawthorn states: policies on immigrants, Planned Parenthood and those behind bars are also included in a bill set out to help the country slip out of this economic disaster.

$1.9t stimulus bill passes House Committee

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill made it through a key House committee on Monday on what was a nearly party-line vote, bringing the pandemic aid plan closer to passage later this week.

After days of committee hearings hammering out the details of the relief package, the House Budget Committee formally approved legislation that would provide billions of dollars to unemployed Americans, schools and businesses.

As drafted, it would also codify a series of liberal priorities, including a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage. The committee advanced it on a 19 to 16 margin, with every Republican opposed.

Full story below:

Anti-stimulus

Of course, not everyone is in favour of blanket checks being issued around the country as Leo Terrell makes clear here.

The civil rights attorney and former public school teacher, who now makes appearances on Fox News, has pointed to Biden's bill just being a handout to the Democratic governors and mayors.

We should point out that the relief bill does not differentiate depending on your politics, unlike Mr Terell.

Crossing Jordan

With the stimulus checks seen by most as a necessary help for millions of needy Americans, Jeff Sites has his focus set on beating the out-spoken Republican Jim Jordan in the next election.

Stimulus needed for Americans' wallets and for their bodies 

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is designed to help reopen the US economy and shore up families’ finances. Although there is money in the bill to help small businesses one provision that is missing is money to specifically target gyms and fitness centers nearly half of which have closed since the onset of the pandemic. Representative Mike Quigley is trying to get a measure in to the covid-19 relief bill to salvage the health and fitness industry which helped him personally overcome mental stress through working out like many other Americans.

Minimum wage hike in stimulus bill may help restaurant servers 

Democrats are pushing through legislation based on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan which is designed not just to fight the covid-19 pandemic and help struggling Americans with measures such as the $1,400 stimulus checks. But the bill also has provisions to create a more equitable society including gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. 

This has been one of the more controversial portions of the bill with two Democratic Senators saying that they will oppose the bill should their party try to bypass the Senate parliamentarian should he decide that the provision doesn’t meet the requirements to be included in the bill under the rules. 

House Democrats’ proposed Raise the Wage Act would increase the minimum wage over the course of five years, in addition to phasing out the subminimum wages for tipped workers in the states where it still exists. Arguments against the proposal center around it being detrimental to businesses and that it would put many low-income workers, especially in the food service industry out of work. Mother Jones looks at a new report by One Fair Wage which shows some evidence to the contrary.

How much can I deduct per child on my taxes?

There are three tax credits to keep in mind when filing your tax return and you have children or dependents you claim. Here’s a rundown of them.

Read the full story:

A moment of silence to half million Americans lost 

The White House took a moment to pay respect to the more than 500,000 Americans that have perished so far in the covid-19 pandemic. The President and Vice President, accompanied by their spouses, stood outside the White House which was illuminated by five hundred candles. The White House flag was lowered to half-staff and will remain until sunset on Friday along with all flags on federal buildings.

Biden targets mom-and-pop businesses in PPP change 

President Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program to target more federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses. These are primarily owned by women and people of color who have been more severely affected by the consequences of the pandemic-driven economic downturn.  

On Wednesday the administration is establishing a two-week window in which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for the forgivable loans. The White House is also setting aside $1 billion to direct toward sole proprietors, such as home contractors and beauticians.

The IRS tax return could decide how much you get in the third stimulus check

It's a busy time for the IRS as it looks like they will soon have to oversee the organisation and distribution of the third round of stimulus checks. We are also in the midst of tax season 2021, which is administrated by the IRS, so they will be stretched over the coming months. 

However this does have one big advantage, as both are controlled by the IRS you may be able to claim for missing stimulus checks on your tax return filing. Also, the details you submit on your tax return this year could decide if you get the full $1,400 payment. 

Read more:

IRS issues tax return extension for Texas

For weeks the IRS had been insisting that they would not be extending the tax return deadline past 15 April, the date by which point all tax filers must have submitted their documents. Last year the covid-19 pandemic forced them to push the deadline back, and the winter storms in Texas have done the same now. 

The new deadline is on 15 June, two months later than the original date to give residents and the battered Texan infrastructure time to recover from the ordeal of the past two weeks. Aside from Texas' unique situation, there have been growing calls for the IRS to extend the tax return deadline nationally, to prevent them being overloaded when the new stimulus checks are agreed. It is the IRS who will administrate and distribute the third stimulus checks, as they did for the two previous rounds of payment. 

Stimulus bill is crucial to tackling the hunger crisis

Since taking office President Joe Biden has made clear that he wants a long-term plan to return the economy to its pre-pandemic levels, but accepts that there is a more immediate priority for millions of Americans. Recent studies showed that over 27 million Americans have struggled to put food on the table during the pandemic, with childhood poverty also on the rise

The Biden administration hopes that the stimulus check, unemployment benefits and improved child tax credits included in his American Rescue Plan will help turn the tide for those who are suffering. The third stimulus checks will be particularly important and lawmakers hope to have them signed into law in the first half of March. This would provide up to $1,400 per person for low income families. 
 

What is the average IRS tax return in each state?

Your annual tax returns are administered by one central body, the IRS, but the actual amounts received in the form of rebates can vary greatly between states. Some choose to apply extra taxes and other obligatory deductions while some only take what is required by the federal government. 

In some cases, the average amount issued in the form of rebates can vary by over $800, depending on which state you are filing in. Here's how much your state typically issues in the form of tax rebates, and how to get missing stimulus check payments included in yours. 

Read more:

Claim for missing stimulus checks in your IRS tax returns

Tax season 2021 is underway and this year's filing has greater importance than previous years. The IRS will use the information provided to decide if you are eligible for the next round of stimulus check payments, and even to offer rebates for any previous payments that you may have missed. 

If you were missed out of either of the two stimulus checks already agreed then you can claim the missing money back in the form of a tax rebate. To find out how much you could be owed, check out our handy explainer on the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Progressive House leader calls for $1,400 stimulus checks

The eligibility requirements for the third stimulus check has been a contentious issue with some GOP lawmakers suggesting they should be tightened to make the funding more targeted. In reponse Rep. Pamila Jayapal, who serves as chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has said that it would be disastrous to leave people out of the first round of stimulus checks of the Biden administration.

She told CNN: “We need to get money in people’s pockets. And this is the quickest way to do that.”

Read more:

Democrat mistakenly votes against stimulus bill

In the last hours the House Budget Committee has voted in favour of a covid-19 relief bill worth $1.9 trillion, which includes a third stimulus check, support for small businesses and billions of dollars to support the national vaccination effort. It is a positive step for the Democrats, but was not helped by the actions of one lawmaker who accidentally voted against the proposal!

Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas was reportedly getting off a plane at the time when the vote was being taking and misheard what was being voted on. Understandably, Doggett may well have had other things on his mind as his state battles against the winter storm that has left millions without water and electricity. Luckily the Dems had a comfortable margin and his slip-up was not costly. 

House Budget Committee votes in favour of stimulus check proposal

The Democrats have secured a 19-16 victory in the House Budget Committee over the fate of the American Rescue Plan and they look to get the $1.9 trillion package passed. Dem lawmakers hope that they could vote on the stimulus bill later today, and if passed it will move on to the Senate. 

President Biden's flagship economic policy includes a third stimulus check worth up to $1,400, as well as greater funding for unemployment benefits and child tax credits. We still don't know when it's coming, but it does appear that the new stimulus checks are edging closer. 

Jayapal: Stimulus check threshold should not be altered

In an interview with CNN's State of the Union, Rep. Pamila Jayapal said she wants the stimulus check allowance currently included in Biden's American Rescue Plan to remain the same. The Congresswoman, who also serves as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, sees the stimulus checks as a quick way to get support to those who may otherwise have missed out. 

The stimulus bill enters the House today and one Democrat lawmaker has already said that they expect it to be passed today. It will then go to the Senate for further debate and a vote. The exact eligibility requirements for the third stimulus check are yet to be confirmed but there seems little appetite amongst the Democrats, who control both Houses, to alter them. 

IRS tax return could affect your stimulus check entitlement

Tax season can always be a stressful time of the year but this time your filing coud also decide how much you get in the third stimulus check, which is expected to be passed in the coming weeks. The eligibility requirements for the direct payments are largely based on your Adjusted Gross Income. The IRS define this as “gross income minus adjustments to income”, but it essentially just means your total earnings. 

With the new stimulus bill expected to be signed into law the timing of your tax return could have a big impact on how much you get in your stimulus check. If you have had a change of circumstances in the past year, either at home or at work, you could be in line for more money. 

Read more:

$600 stimulus checks helped boost consumer spending

The need for $1,400 stimulus checks has been questioned by Republican lawmakers in recent weeks, as they asked how much good the direct payments actually do for the economy. However a new study by Opportunity Insights has suggested that the $600 payments from Janaury did lead to more spending. 

The report shows that there was a notable uplift in consumer spending, especially among lower-income households, when compared to the previous year. They suggest that those earning less than $60,000 a year (who would have received the stimulus checks) spent around 20% more in the week ending 10 January 2021 than then did in the previous year.

Not only that but they estimate that 88% of consumers who received the second stimulus check spent it immediately, suggesting that there is no real need to make the third payments more targeted than previous ones. 

How many votes are needed to pass the new stimulus check bill?

The American Rescue Plan is set to be introduced in the House of Representatives today as the Democrats look to push through the $1.9 trillion package. They hold a healthy majority in the House but their advantage in the Senate could not be narrower. 

California Rep. Ted Lieu announced on Twitter yesterday that he expects the House to vote in favour before the end of the week, but other Democrat lawmakers are now suggesting that it could be passed today. The sooner the bill is signed into law the sooner the third stimulus checks will be sent out, so they will hope to get the debate concluded fairly quickly. However eligibility requirements for the $1,400 payments have not yet been finalised, and could slow things down. 

Stimulus check bill could pass the House today

We know that the new covid-19 relief bill will finally be officially unveiled in the House of Representatives today, but there are also hopes that the Democrats will be able to pass the $1.9 trillion proposal the same day. President Biden has struggled to build any bipartisan support for the package but in the House, where the Dems hold a majority, they should have no trouble in getting it passed. 

The news comes from Brooklyn & Queens Congressman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who also serves as the Democrats' Hosue Chair. Passing the bill in a single day will help to speed up the process which has already taken a month. They hope to have the bill signed into law before 14 March, with the third stimulus check expected to begin distribution soon after. 

 

Stimulus checks will help get financial support to more people

Speaking earlier today, President Biden's Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, defended the need for a third stimulus check in the new relief bill. Critics have suggested that stimulus checks are not an efficient way of getting the money to those who really need it, but Yellen points out that it does help many who may be excluded from other programmes. 

The stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan, will be introduced by House Democrats later today with the hope of passing the package later this week. The bill will then go to the Senat where it will be the subject of another vote before heading to the White House to be signed into law. We still don't know when it's coming, but there is a clear desire in the Biden adminstration to get the stimulus checks out as quickly as possible now. 

To file your taxes you need to know your Taxpayer Identification Numbers. Here's everything you need to know to find your Social Security or Employer Identification Number online.

Political ads to return to Google

According to Politico, Google will readmit political ads as of Wednesday after imposing a ban following the 2020 election in a bid to clamp down on misinformation.

garland

Merrick Garland (C) nominee to be Attorney General, speaks with ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and chairman Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill), as he arrives for his confirmation hearing in the Senate Judicary Committee in Washington, USA, 22 February 2021.

EFE/EPA/Bill Clark / POOL

Senate panel to hear from Biden's attorney general nominee Garland

Joe Biden's nominee for US attorney general, Merrick Garland, is expected to face questions on Monday during his Senate confirmation hearing on a range of issues including the threat posed by right-wing extremists, police and sentencing reforms and an investigation involving Biden's son.

Garland, a federal appellate judge and former prosecutor widely expected to win Senate confirmation as the top US law enforcement official, goes before the Judiciary Committee at a hearing due to start at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT). Garland has said he plans to prioritize civil rights and combating domestic terrorism if confirmed.

He was nominated to lead a Justice Department now in the midst of intensive investigations into the 6 January attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Republican former President Donald Trump's supporters - an incident Garland called "heinous" in his prepared testimony released on Saturday.

Some of the more than 200 people arrested in the siege were associated with groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, underscoring rising concern about future violence from right-wing extremists.

Garland has experience in tackling such threats, having managed the sprawling investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by anti-government extremists and supervising the prosecution of the so-called Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski after a deadly bombing spree.

Committee Republicans are expected to press Garland about other matters as well including seeking assurances that he will not remove a special counsel probing actions taken by federal law enforcement officials who investigated contacts between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

Trump claimed the Russia investigation was intended to harm him politically. Bill Barr, Trump's second attorney general, appointed a federal prosecutor named John Durham to look into the matter and last October elevated him to special counsel, making it more difficult to remove him.

Republican senators also may question Garland on a federal investigation into the Democratic president's son Hunter Biden, who has disclosed that the probe involves his taxes. A lawyer who previously worked for the law firm hired to handle Hunter Biden's defense has been chosen to run the Justice Department's criminal division until Biden picks a nominee for the job.

Trump tax bid rebuffed

According to a breaking news report from The Hill, the former US president has failed in an attempt to shield his tax returns from a New York grand jury subpoena. 

 

Biden to revise small business loans to reach smaller, minority firms

Joe Biden will launch changes on Monday to the main US coronavirus aid program for small businesses to try to reach smaller, minority-owned firms and sole proprietors left behind in previous rounds of aid.

Biden administration officials said that for two weeks starting on Wednesday, the Small Business Administration will only accept applications for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from firms with fewer than 20 employees to ensure that they are not crowded out by larger firms.

The changes, to be formally announced by Biden on Monday, come as small business bankers say demand for Paycheck Protection loans is slowing as firms reopen.

When the PPP was launched in April 2020 at the height of coronavirus lockdowns under a $3 trillion relief bill, its initial $349 billion ran out in two weeks. Congress approved another $320 billion in May, but the program expired in August with about $130 billion in unused funds.

The program was re-launched on 19 January with $284 billion in new funds from a coronavirus aid bill passed at the end of December, and a Biden administration official said about $150 billion of PPP money is still available.

But Biden administration officials said there are still many minority and very small firms in low-income areas that have not been able to receive aid.

The changes aim to make it easier for firms with no employees -- sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed people such as house cleaners and personal care providers -- that could not qualify previously because of business cost deductions.

The Small Business Administration will revise the rules to match the approach used to allowed small farmers and ranchers to receive aid, the businesses said.

When is the third stimulus check coming?

House Democrats are set to officially propose Biden's American Rescue Plan in Congress today (22 February) before it can be sent on to the Senate. The Democrats should have the votes in both Houses to pass the bill, which includes a third round of stimulus checks worth up to $1,400 per person. 

However there may be some issues with the distribution of the vital support as the IRS are currently in the midst of a busy tax season. Tens of millions of Americans will submit their tax returns in the comings weeks and there are concerns that this could disrupt the stimulus check process. 

Some groups are therefore likely to get their stimulus checks well before others, with some potentially having to wait until late April to get the cash. For other, the payments could be in their bank accounts in March. 

Read more:

AOC raises $5 million for Texas relief fund

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) announced on Sunday night that her fundraising efforts for a Texas relief fund "just hit $5 million."

According to axios.com, Ocasio-Cortez launched the fundraiser last Thursday, as Texas was gripped by a deadly winter weather emergency that saw millions of people Texans lose power and water.

How will I get the $600 stimulus check in California?

The $600 per person direct payments constitute the largest section of the package, costing $2.3 billion in total. This will see stimulus check payments sent to around 5.7 million people, some of whom were missed out from previous payments under former President Trump.

The details of the proposal could still be altered before officially being signed into law, but it is likely that the eligibility for a California stimulus check will be:

- Those earning less than $30,000 per year

- Households who received the Earned Income Tax Credit for 2020

- Anyone unable to receive recent federal payment because they do not have a Social Security Number, but who have an Individual Tax Identification Number and income of less than $75,000.

Read more on the latest from California:

$600 California stimulus check: how to know if I qualify

It was announced last Wednesday that lawmakers in California 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 low income earners. The plan was announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday and appears to be a tweaked version of the Golden State Stimulus plan he proposed last month.

Aside from the stimulus checks, billions of dollars have been designated for grants for small businesses and to provide emergency accommodation for the state’s many farmworkers who are forced to quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the State Assembly, said the package would “help those who are hurting most,” adding: "We are building an economic foundation for the recovery of jobs, small businesses and, indeed, our everyday lives.”

Full story below:

$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 the 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:

How to track your tax refund 2021 status in IRS web

Online tool shows the status of your tax refund

Filing tax returns can be a tricky process at the best of times, with some pretty serious consequences if you don’t get your affairs in order before the deadline. But to make that process a bit less confusing, the IRS has introduced a 'Where's My Refund' online tool so you can check the status of your rebate.

The handy resource is updated daily and you can access it online with three pieces of information:

- Your social security number or ITIN

- Your filing status

- The exact amount you are owed in the refund

Simply select ‘Check My Refund Status’ on the website and submit your details to get an up-to-date look at the progress of your tax refund. It should be noted that the IRS are predicting longer waits than usual this year. The pandemic has made it particularly difficult to process mailed documents so they warn that it could take more than 21 days.

Read more:

Biden

What are the current plans for a targeted stimulus check?

The $1,400 stimulus checks appear to be set in stone but there is some room to manoeuvre on the eligibility requirements. In Biden’s original plan, the full amount was to be paid to single filers earning no more than $75,000 per year and married couples who earning up to $150,000.

Biden has even addressed the need to focus the payments directly, saying he wanted “to target that money, so folks making $300,000 don’t get any windfall.”

However, there has been pressure from some lawmakers to reduce these thresholds, or at least to make the phase-out for higher earners more abrupt. If your earning are higher than those levels the amount you are able to receive gradually phases out, from $1,400 to nothing. As it stands that upper limit stands at $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for married couples.

“These details are not yet final and could see further adjustment,” Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, said recently, “but so far have received little pushback from moderate Democrats who sought a greater degree of targeting for upper-income payment recipients.”

Third stimulus check: how will they be 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 over the coming days.

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? Follow the link for the full story.

Democrats optimistic about their chances of passing the stimulus checks

The American Rescue Plan will first enter the House of Representatives for debate and discussion before being put to a vote. The Democrats hold a healthy majority in the House and should have enough votes to see the bill passed.

The Democrats currently have a ten-seat advantage and require just a simple majority for the package to be passed. Democrat lawmakers are very confident that they will get the bill passed fairly quickly, with California Rep. Ted Lieu announcing on Twitter that he expects the House to pass the American Rescue Plan before the end of the week.

Joe Biden on stimulus checks and more

President Joe Biden answered questions via Twitter about when you’ll get your stimulus checks and how the US is increasing vaccine production.

What's in the House Democrats' stimulus relief plan?

A key House committee on Friday released the Democrats' massive coronavirus relief package, pulling together President Joe Biden's stimulus proposal into a 591-page bill. Full story via CNN.

Will the 3rd stimulus check be sent out before March?

The full details of the latest stimulus bill were announced at the end of last week, which House Democrats plan to officially table today Monday 22 February. The 591-page proposal comprises federal funding amounting to around $1.9 trillion and this includes the long-awaited third round of stimulus checks, this time valued at up to $1,400 per eligible American.

It is almost a year since the first round of stimulus payments of $1,200 were issued as part of the CARES Act, which arrived as it was clear the covid-19 pandemic was going to have devastating effects on the US economy, and this was followed at the beginning of 2021 with checks of the value of $600 as political parties hotly debated their value to needy citizens. As well as an increased amount, this time around will also see eligibility requirements widened to include adult dependents.

Read more:

Tax Return 2021: how to check my tax number on the IRS site

Tax season 2021 is now well underway and millions of Americans will need to submit their tax returns for the past year before the 15 April deadline. This year’s filing has slightly higher stakes than usual with eligibility for the third round of stimulus checks likely to be based on the information contained in your tax returns.

For more information on why this is the case, check out: Tax return 2020: does it affect third stimulus check?

There are a few details that you will need to get your tax returns submitted properly, most of which will be related to your personal situation and employment status. However, you will also need some other details specific to the tax filing process.

Full story:

Stimulus checks will provide "urgent aid to those in need"

President Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, has outlined the need for Congress to pass the covid-19 economic relief bill that is set to be tabled today. America is in the midst of an unemployment crisis that is disproportionately affecting low income earners. The bill includes a third stimulus check worth up to $1,400 which is intended to provide short-term relief to those who are really struggling.

This has caused a dramatic rise in childhood poverty and food insecurity on a national level as millions are left without sufficient income for months on end. Biden's American Rescue Plan puts together $1.9 trillion of federal funding. It is hoped that the bill can be passed in the coming weeks and stimulus checks may begin distribution in March.

Biden defends his stimulus bill proposal

Shortly before the American Rescue Plan is due to be unveiled in the House of Representatives, President Biden has responded to questions regarding the cost of the package. The $1.9 trillion bill includes a third stimulus checks worth $1,400, boosted unemployment benefits and a new-look child tax credit. 

All of these measures are aimed at providing additional financial support to those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Biden argues that the trillions of federal spending will help to kick-start the American economy, which has been ravaged by the pandemic. In fact, studies have shown that a targeted round of stimulus checks, as he has recommended, is a very efficient way to boost the economy because the money is more likely to be spent than saved. 

Stimulus bill offers $1.9 trillion of economic support

The $1,400 stimulus checks have probably been the most publicised part of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, but there is plenty more in the huge stimulus bill than just a third round of direct payments. California Rep. Ted Lieu throws his support behind the proposal which includes both immediate and more long-term financial relief for individuals, families and businesses that are struggling. 

The stimulus bill will be proposed in the House today, Monday and Lieu said recently that he expects the package to be passed by the end of the week. From there it will go to the Senate where the Democrats expect to use reconciliation to pass the bill after facing stiff opposition from the Republicans. 

Stimulus bill could halve childhood poverty

The American Rescue Plan proposed by President Biden has the potential to halve childhood poverty in the United States if it can be passed in Congress. Included in the stimulus bill is significant changes to the child tax credit entitlement which would see the amount upped to monthly payments of up to $300 per child. Biden hopes to have these payments made in monthly direct deposits, more like the stimulus checks. 

The $1,400 stimulus checks are also expected to make a significant difference to low income Americans with much need direct assistance. Unemployment rates have soared since the pandemic forced shutdowns across the country and millions are still out of work, with families to feed. 

Democrats confident of passing stimulus check bill

The Democrats will officially propose President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan in Congress today, Monday. One of the key inclusions in the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill is a third round of stimulus checks, which will be worth up to $1,400 per person. The stimulus checks are one of the key forms of direct support that Biden’s bill offers, along with extended unemployment benefits and a beefed up child tax credit allowance.

The Democrats hold a narrow majority across both Houses and will have to rely on a Senate mechanism known as reconciliation to pass the bill. The House is expected to vote on the bill at some point next week and will start to ball rolling for the package to be signed into law. 

Read more:

Graduates who file tax returns may now be eligible for stimulus checks

In the past millions of Americans were denied stimulus checks due to their status as 'adult dependents' on someone else' tax returns. It is thought that around 13.5 million people missed out on a payment for this reason, more than half of whom were students listed on their parent's tax returns. 

But as tax season 2021 begins there is a chance for college students who have recently graduated to get retroactive payments, to cover the $1,200 and $600 stimulus checks that they missed out on. If you now file independently you may be able to claim a tax rebate for the missing cash, which the IRS will distribute as they process your tax return. 

Sen. Schumer wants stimulus bill to address "health and economic crisis"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has thrown his support behind the $1.9 trillion relief package that will provide $1,400 stimulus checks to eligible Americans. The proposal will be introduced in the House tomorrow but it is in the Senate, Schumer's domain, where it is likely to face the most opposition. 

During previous discussions, a group of GOP lawmakers were eager for the stimulus checks to be reduced to $1,000 to lower the overall cost of the bill. However, the Democrats should be able to pass the stimulus bill without Republican support using reconciliation. There are hopes that the package can be signed into law in early March, so the stimulus checks can be sent out soon after. 

Hello and welcome

Hello and welcome to our live blog for Monday 22 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 help with how to file your tax returns.

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