Third stimulus check news summary: 26 February 2021

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Third stimulus check updates today: when it's coming, $1400 payments, IRS tax refund, House vote | Live

Stimulus relief bill live updates - Friday 26 February 2021


- $1.9tn American Rescue Plan passed (full story)

- Some Democrats oppose Biden's covid-19 relief package (who and why?)

- Senate parliamentarian rules minimum-wage hike can't be passed under reconciliation

- Republican Sen. Josh Hawley proposes legislation to "increase the minimum wage for big business"

- Stimulus checks of at least $600 approved in California (who qualifies?)

- IRS tax return could decide your third stimulus check entitlement (full details)

- Tax saving of $3,100 in stimulus bill (more info)

- Child tax credit expansion and stimulus check boost could halve child poverty in the US, study explains

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

US covid-19 cases/deaths: 28.4 million/508,314 (live updates)

Take a look at some of the latest related news stories:

House passes $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill

The House of Representatives passed its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill early on Saturday, approving it 219-212 with two Democrats joined all Republicans in opposing it. The Biden administration was keen to push the bill through before unemployment programs expire on 14 March.

Senate next up for stimulus package

Once the bill is through the House (watch proceedings live) - and that might not take place until after midnight - all eyes will be on the Senate, where they will debate their own version of the stimulus package - one thing that will be different will be the lack of provisions on the minimum wage, which the Senate Parliamentarian said can't go through under budget reconciliation, the method Dems are using to get the bill through. 

The revised bill is expected to be in the house next week and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is keen to get it through by 14 March when the current unemployment benefits from the most recent covid bill are set to expire. He is said to be confident he can make that deadline.

House to vote on Democrats' $1.9tn stimulus bill late this evening

Hot off the press from CNN chief Congressional correspondent Manu Raju again this evening, and it looks like the House isn't quite nearing the end of marathon session over the coronavirus relief legislation. Raju tweets:

"Ten hours later, House Rules is still meeting over rule governing floor debate for $1.9T covid relief bill. After many Republican speeches railing on the plan, they're now voting on GOP amendments The House still plans to vote late tonight. Bill will pass but vote will be close."

Joe Biden’s $1.9trn stimulus package is one of the most popular bills in decades

And yet the Economist reports, in spite of this, it is unlikely to garner a single Republican vote. "They say it is too big, poorly targeted and filled with liberal policies unrelated to the pandemic."

"For voters, there is much to like: the package includes $1,400 stimulus checks for most people (at a cost of $422bn), an extra $400 a week in unemployment-insurance payments ($246bn), as well as funds for reopening schools ($130bn) and distributing vaccines ($160bn)."

The House of Representatives will vote on the stimulus bill late on Friday evening, it is expected to pass without any Republican votes, and move to the Senate for consideration.

How will Americans spend stimulus checks?

USA TODAY asked people around the country how they would spend $1,400. 

In the US 50 million people are going hungry – up from 35 million before the outbreak. Families across the country, especially those of color, report a devastating reality: there isn’t enough food on the table. 

The House of Representatives could vote as soon as Friday on President Joe Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion relief package, which would include $1,400 stimulus checks. If the bill passes, it would go to the Senate, where many Republicans, who argue that assistance dissuades people from looking for work, are looking to cut out some of the provisions. Nearly 80% of adults said they need another economic assistance package, according to the Pew Research Center.

$1,400 can stave off eviction or a utility shutoff. It can nurse a teenager back to health, provide seed money for a business, pay for an education and, in some cases, provide a new sense of freedom.

Democrats confident that stimulus relief bill will pass in the House today

CNN Congressional correspondent Manu Raju spoke to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn who was confident that the Democrats would attain the 218 votes necessary to pass the new coronavirus relief bill, which includes extended unemployment benefits as well as direct $1,00 stimulus checks on to debate in the Senate.

Education think tank on stimulus bill and minimum wage

The Gravel Institute says that Kamala Harris has the power to veto a recent vote on the raising of the minimum wage to $15, a proposal included in the stimulus bill.

"The Senate Parliamentarian has decided that the $15 minimum wage can't be included in the stimulus bill. But the Senate Parliamentarian can be overruled by the Vice President. If Biden and Harris actually care about raising the minimum wage, they should overrule immediately."

Third stimulus check: how many votes are needed to pass the relief bill?

Passing the new coronavirus relief bill through the House and the Senate are two very different ball games. Here’s a number crunch and what might happen.

Read the full story:

Republicans could see consequences for opposing such a popular bill

Biden's stimulus plan is popular. The GOP needs to accept that. It's not 2009. Trying to stand in the way of the $1.9 trillion package is a mistake, says MSNBC.

"There may be no creature on this planet more stubborn than a Republican member of Congress. President Joe Biden's covid-19 stimulus package is chugging along, with Democrats in the both the House and the Senate committed to its passage. And yet as a whole, the GOP caucus is still digging in its heels. But its reluctance reflects a partisan commitment to obstruction, not what Americans want.

"As it stands, time isn't on Republicans' side as they desperately try to derail things. Democrats hope to get the bill to Biden's desk before March 14, when some unemployment benefits are set to expire. The House is set to vote on the $1.9 trillion package as soon as Friday after weeks of shepherding the behemoth through various committees. But the bill will face a tougher challenge in the Senate, where changes will definitely be made. (Case in point: The Senate parliamentarian ruled on Thursday that the $15-an-hour minimum wage hike can't stay in the bill.) That leaves little time for delay, despite grumbling from some Republicans that Biden didn't give them enough time to haggle."

Your IRS tax returns could decide how much you get in the third stimulus check

Millions of Americans are getting their filings for tax year 2021 completed ahead of the 15 April deadline in a bid to maximise how much they could receive in the next stimulus check. Congress is preparing the vote on the new covid-19 relief bill proposed by President Biden, which includes a round of $1,400 stimulus checks. 

Eligibility for these direct payments is based on you annual income, with the IRS will glean from your most recent tax returns. This means that anyone who has suffered a loss of income since they last filed may be able to receive a more generous stimulus check if they get their tax returns in to the IRS before the American Rescue Plan is signed into law. 

Read more:

White House calls on Congress to pass the third stimulus check in tonight's House vote

In a recent Twitter thread the official White House account has laid out the reasons to support the American Rescue Plan, calling it a "bold, comprehensive legislative package that will provide direct relief to Americans". The stimulus bill appears likely to be put to a vote on the floor of the House this evening, before it can head to the Senate. 

A key inclusion in the bill is a third round of stimulus checks, this time worth $1,400 per person. President Biden has been criticised by some who feel that he has reneged on his campaign promise to pass a round of $2,000 stimulus checks once in office. There is an urgent need for more direct financial support as soon as possible with a third of households struggling to cover their bills. Not only that but over 10 million American children are currently experiencing food poverty. 

Sen. Hawley to propose minimum wage increase, separate to stimulus bill

The Democrats were frustrated last night when the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that they could not use the budgetary mechanism 'reconciliation' to pass a bill that included legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. This had been a key part of Biden's aim to improve conditions for low income earners, alongside the $1,400 stimulus checks that will remain in the package. 

However support may come from an unlikely source as Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, a staunch Trump ally, has announced that he will propose a stand-alone bill to raise the minimum wage. He has not yet revealed how much his proposal would see it risen by, but it is an important sign of bipartisan sentiment on the issue. 

Markets respond to stimulus check proposal

President Biden hopes to provide a much-needed boost for the American economy with his $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which could be put to a vote in the House tonight. The bill includes a third round of stimulus checks, worth up to $1,400 per person, which could be good news for businesses if previous payments are anything to go by. 

The Department of Commerce found that there was a considerable increase in consumer spending in January after former President Trump's emergency relief provided stimulus checks worth $600. 

How much will you receive in the third stimulus check?

The House of Representatives will vote on the American Rescue Plan this evening, which should see the $1,400 stimulus checks edge closer to being signed into law. The Democrats hold a ten-seat advantage in the House and require only a simple majority (more than half of the votes) to have the stimulus bill passed. 

Although the bill has not yet been finalised, we do have a pretty good idea of what the eligibility requirements will be like for the third stimulus check. Here's our handy guide to the next round of direct payments, with a stimulus check calculator to work out how much you could receive. 

Read more:

Stimulus checks deliver consumer spending boost

A report released on Friday morning by the Department of Commerce found that there was a huge increase in consumer spending during January, the second-largest spike on record. The largest increase came last April in the weeks after the first round of stimulus checks was distributed. Overall the report found that household income increased by 10% in January while consumer spending rose by 2.4%

It is hoped that the third stimulus check could bring an even greater rise as the US begins to get a grip on the public health crisis that has seen businesses face tough restrictions for much of the last 12 months. The news suggests that the $1,400 stimulus checks could be hugely beneficial to the struggling economy. 

“We’re going to consult with our congressional allies ... congressional leadership today to talk about a path forward on how we can make progress urgently on what is an urgent issue. 

"The president has campaigned on the $15 minimum wage, he believes in the $15 minimum wage, he’s committed to getting it done.”

Brian Deese, White House National Economic Council director

"I disagree strongly with the Senate Parliamentarian's advisory ruling on the $15 minimum wage."

"The White House and Senate leadership can and should still include the minimum wage increase in the [stimulus] bill."

Pramila Jayapal, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair

IRS experiencing massive influx of early tax returns

This year Americans seem more eager than even to get their tax returns sorted, and the IRS have reported huge numbers within the first weeks of tax season 2021. Last year they received 15.7 million returns in the first full week; this time around they got 55 million returns in the first weekend alone

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig told federal lawmakers earlier this week that they are currently receiving 335 tax refund requests every second. This surge may be partly due to the new Recovery Rebate Credit, which allows filers to claim a rebate for any stimulus checks that they have missed so far. 

There are concerns that with this level of demand the IRS may be forced to push back the filing deadline, so they can also administrate the distribution of the third stimulus checks. The new stimulus bill is expected to be signed into law in early March, meaning that the IRS will be overseeing both processes at the same time. 

Economic update ahead of House vote on stimulus bill

The House is expected to vote on President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill tonight, but is such a huge burst of federal spending really needed? There is a clear short-term need for direct support, such as the $1,400 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, but critics of the bill has claimed that the broader stimulus initiatives are unneccessary. 

It is certainly true that the US economy has shown promising signs in recent weeks but the underlying data shows that the unemployment rate is still dangerously high, with some projections suggesting it could take years to get back to pre-pandemic levels unless significant stimulus spending is passed. 

What time is the House vote on Biden's stimulus bill?

The House of Representatives prepares to vote today on the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan proposed by President Joe Biden. The new stimulus bill includes funding to speed up the vaccination effort; to support local government; and to get children back into schools safely, as well as a round of $1,400 stimulus checks. 

The bill will first go to the House Rules Committee, who must draw up the final version of the proposal before it can be officially put to the floor of the House. The House will then get an opportunity to debate and discuss the bill put forward, before it goes to a vote. 

Read more:

Minimum wage increase removed from Biden's stimulus bill

The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that the Democrats can not use reconciliation to pass their proposed minimum wage increase, meaning that it has been removed from the stimulus bill just hours before it is set to be tabled in the House of Representatives. 

The House vote takes place tonight but will be done on an altered proposal. Provision for the $1,400 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits will stay in the bill, but the $15 minimum wage was adjudged to not be a budgetary issue, so could not be passed using reconciliation. Progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders have already made clear their frustration that the ground-breaking legislation will be removed, and studies show that a majority of the American people feel the same. 

House vote on stimulus check proposal will take place this evening

After weeks of discussion in Congress President Biden's American Rescue Plan will finally be put to a vote in the House of Representatives this evening. At 9:30am Eastern Time the House Rules Committee will meet to prepare the final bill for the House floor, after the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that the proposed minimum wage rise to $15 per hour could not be passed using reconciliation.

The Democrat-led chamber is expected to vote in favour, meaning that the third stimulus check moves closer to becoming a reality. Biden is desperate to see the bill passed before 14 March, which is when some of the provision from the emergency relief bill signed in December runs out. 

GOP Oklahoma City mayor: We need this stimulus bill

The mayor of Oklahoma City, David Holt, is among a group of Republican mayors who support the $1.9tn stimulus bill due to be voted on in the House on Friday, in the face of GOP congressionals' lack of backing for the legislation.

Holt is one of 32 Republican mayors who signed a letter sent by 425 mayors from across the US urging Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s relief package, which includes $350bn in aid for state and local governments.

“The economic fall-out […] has not only affected our small businesses, it’s also affected our ability as a city to provide the services the people depend on,” Holt told MSNBC.

“We’re down 5% in our revenue this year, and that has meant about 4% cuts to police and fire, and about 11% cuts to all our other departments […]. We’re not providing the level of service that our citizens rightly expect.”

He added: “Whether you’re a red state or a blue state, a red mayor or a blue mayor, your revenues are down and your services are suffering a result. That is a fact.”

2020 US tax return: what's the minimum income to file taxes?

Depending on their earnings, taxpayers in the United States may not have to submit a tax return.

Here's a breakdown of the income requirements for filing taxes:

Be on your guard against 'ghost' tax preparers

The IRS is warning US taxpayers to make sure they don't fall into the trap of having their 2020 taxes filed by a so-called 'ghost' preparer, who has a number of ways of scamming their victim out of their money.

IRS info on 'ghost' preparers

Your 2020 tax return may affect the size of your stimulus check

As the House prepares to vote on a coronavirus relief bill that includes provision for a third round of stimulus checks, here's all the information you need on how your 2020 tax return stands to affect your direct payment:

Comparing the third stimulus check to previous payments

The American Rescue Plan seeks to provide stimulus checks worth up to $1,400 for individuals. How does this compare to the economic relief offered by the Trump administration?

Full story:

What to do to claim missing stimulus check?

Millions of people never received their stimulus check - and if you were one of them, don’t despair. When you file your tax return you can claim yours.

Here's how:

Tax saving of $3,100 in coronavirus stimulus bill

New analysis shows that the Democrats’ covid-19 relief bill would reduce household federal tax bills by an average of $3,100 each this year.

Full details:

Third stimulus check calculator: how much could you receive?

Calculate how much you stand to receive as part of the third round of stimulus checks, a measure that is a part of a $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill that is due to be voted on in the House of Representatives today:

When push comes to shove, Republicans are going to join us - Stevens

Democratic congresswoman Haley Stevens says she doesn’t expect the $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill to get no support from Republicans when the package is voted on in the House of Representatives on Friday.

"The time to act is now and I believe that colleagues on the other side of the aisle, when push comes to shove, are going to join us, and I’m going to tell you why: this is triage," Stevens told CNBC.

"We just recognized 500,000 lives lost to this pandemic, we all know we need the funding for the vaccines, the testing. We're long overdue with some of the economic provisions of this bill, the $1,400 stimulus check, the monies needed to reopen our schools fully and safely - we're talking personnel dollars here.

"And just take it from the economists and those who are supporting this bill outside the chamber. We've got the US Chamber of Commerce supporting this bill, we’ve got the US Conference of Mayors, we've got executives who come from both parties who are saying: We need this American Rescue Plan.

"Stabilize the health of this country, stabilize the economy."

Republicans in Congress "out of touch with the way the country is"

Democratic congressman Sean Patrick Maloney has accused congressional Republicans of being "out of touch" with the current situation in the United States ahead of a House vote on a $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill in which it is likely that not a single GOP representative will support the aid package.

"75% of Americans, including a lot of Republicans, support the pandemic relief bill," Maloney told MSNBC on Thursday. "So what you’re really seeing is a Republican caucus that is in the throes of some very dangerous elements, and that’s why 139 of them voted to set aside the election [result], 199 voted to keep Marjorie Taylor-Greene on her committees and just today, just a couple of them voted for equality for LGBT Americans.

"So you’ve got a Republican caucus that is badly out of touch with the way the country is."

Graham: Minimum-wage ruling will "reinforce the traditions of the Senate"

Senator Lindsey Graham, the leading Republican on the Senate’s Budget Committee, has welcomed the decision not to allow Democrats to include a minimum-wage increase in a $1.9tn stimulus bill.

Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has ruled that the measure cannot be passed under the 'budgetary reconcilation' process being used by Democrats to push the package through without GOP backing.

"Very pleased the Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that a minimum wage increase is an inappropriate policy change in reconciliation," Graham tweeted on Thursday.

"This decision reinforces reconciliation cannot be used as a vehicle to pass major legislative change - by either party - on a simple majority vote. This decision will, over time, reinforce the traditions of the Senate."

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has confirmed that the provision to up the national minimum wage to $15 an hour will remain in the proposed stimulus bill when it is voted on in the lower chamber on Friday.

It will then be stripped out of the legislation by the Senate.

Sanders slams "archaic and undemocratic" rules behind stimulus-bill ruling

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) has hit out at Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's decision not to allow Democrats to include a minimum-wage increase in a $1.9tn stimulus bill as they prepare to push the package through using the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process.

"I strongly disagree with tonight’s decision by the Senate Parliamentarian," Sanders said in a statement. "The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] made it absolutely clear that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour had a substantial budgetary impact and should be allowed under reconciliation."

He added: "Because of the archaic and undemocratic rules of the Senate we are unable to move forward to end starvation wages in this country and raise the income fo 32 million struggling Americans."

Minimum-wage ruling "disappointing" - Pelosi

Confirming that a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour will remain in the stimulus bill voted on by the lower chamber on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has described Thursday’s ruling that the measure does not comply with Senate budgetary rules as "disappointing".

"The ruling from the Senate parliamentarian is disappointing, because raising the minimum wage would give 27 million Americans a well-deserved raise and pull nearly one million Americans out of poverty in the middle of a once-in-a-century devastating pandemic and economic crisis," Pelosi said in a statement.

"House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary. Therefore, this provision will remain in the American Rescue Plan on the Floor tomorrow. Democrats in the House are determined to pursue every possible path in the Fight For 15.

"Tomorrow, when we pass the American Rescue Plan, the American people will know that Help Is On The Way."

White House statement minimum-wage ruling

White House reaction to minimum-wage ruling

In a statement released in the wake of Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's ruling that an increase in the minimum wage cannot be included in a stimulus bill passed under the 'budget reconciliation' process in the Senate, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden is "disappointed" but "respects the parliamentarian's decision".

Biden “will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward [for efforts to increase the national minimum wage] because no one in this country should work full time and live in poverty”.

Psaki added that the president “urges Congress to move quickly to pass the American Rescue Plan, which includes $1400 rescue checks for most Americans, funding to get this virus under control, aid to get our schools reopened and desperately needed help for the people who have been hardest hit by this crisis”.

MacDonough's ruling may in fact smooth the way for Biden's $1.9tn relief bill to get through the Senate, as some more moderate Democrats - such as West Virginia's Joe Manchin - had expressed their opposition to the measure. With the upper chamber evenly split, the Dems need all 50 of their senators to back the bill for it to pass.

Covid-19 relief bill will be put to a vote on Friday

Here is our latest report on Friday's scheduled House of Representatives vote on the $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, which includes provision for a round of stimulus checks worth up to $1,400 for individuals:

Stimulus check live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog bringing you the latest updates on the proposed third stimulus check, the California direct payments passed this week, the 2020 tax-filing season, and more.

The House of Representatives is due to vote today on President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill - which the mooted $1,400 stimulus check is a part of - with the chamber’s Democratic majority expected to pass the package before sending on to the Senate.

Amid scant Republican support for the stimulus bill, Democrats are preparing to push it through the evenly-split Senate using the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process, which requires a simply majority of 51, rather than the filibuster-proof 60 usually needed in the upper house.

However, on Thursday Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough determined that the rules of reconciliation do not allow Democrats to include a provision to increase the national minimum wage to $15 an hour in the stimulus package.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the minimum-wage hike will nonetheless remain in the bill voted on by the lower chamber, before being stripped off the legislation once in the Senate.