Third stimulus check updates today: when will Senate vote on it? New $3000 child tax credit | Saturday 27 February

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Stimulus relief bill live updates - 27 February

Headlines:

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

- Biden's covid relief bill moves to Senate floor for debate (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: 28.48 million/510,458 (live updates)

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

Left and right, the American public support stimulus bill

Biden’s first major agenda item passed 219-212 in the House with unanimous GOP opposition and two Democratic representatives crossing the aisle. The $1.9 trillion stimulus plan known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is a massive relief package aimed at stabilizing the economy and boosting coronavirus vaccinations and testing. 

The bill extends enhanced federal unemployment benefits through August, provides $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, boosts funding for vaccine distribution and coronavirus testing. As well it includes other measures, such as money for schools, nutritional assistance and housing aid in addition to a third round of stimulus checks, this time for $1,400. 

House Democrats included a $15 minimum wage hike, that on Thursday the Senate parliamentarian ruled could not be permitted in the legislation under Senate rules for reconciliation. The measure will most likely be removed in the Senate but as a Plan B, Democrats are considering a tax penalty for fortune 1000 companies that pay employees less than $15 per hour.

"To my fellow Senators, let's be honest - in order to do much of what we were sent to Washington to do - we HAVE to leverage our power. Mitch McConnell has shown us who he is time and time again, holding out for compromise is a fool's errand. We MUST end the filibuster."

Alex Padilla, US Senator for California (D)

American families could benefit from a third stimulus check and child tax credit

Parents across the country could see a lot of help coming their way if the American Rescue Plan Act 2021 passes, with stimulus checks and child tax credits. 

Read the full story:

"As an economist— and an American— I applaud the House’s favorable vote on the American Rescue Plan. There’s a broad consensus among economists: People need more help putting food on the table & keeping a roof over their head until the virus is under control. This plan does that."

Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary

If minimum wage hike can’t be in stimulus bill Democrats seek alternative 

Democratic lawmakers are exploring new tax penalties on firms with more than $2.5 billion in gross receipts that do not pay at least $15 an hour as an alternative plan to a minimum-wage increase as per the Washington Post. The plan being discussed would overwhelmingly hit companies in the Fortune 1000, many of which have seen record profits during the pandemic. The penalty would likely start almost immediately after the law is passed. 

Democrats are looking for a workaround after the Senate parliamentarian said on Thursday that raising the minimum did not meet the requirements to be included in budgetary reconciliation which is being used to pass the American Rescue Plan Act with a simple majority. Without reconciliation the Democrats would have to find at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to pass the minimum wage rise, a most unlikely scenario.

Americans that live abroad are eligible for stimulus payments

US citizens living abroad were eligible to receive the first two stimulus checks and will be for the third direct payment in the American Rescue Act of 2021.

Read the full story:

Who supported the stimulus bill in the House vote? 

A new coronavirus relief bill, including $1,400 stimulus checks is making its way to the Senate for approval. Who voted for the bill in the House? 

Read the full story:

FDA approves Johnson & Johnson's covid-19 vaccine 

The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson's covid-19 vaccine Saturday. It is the first single dose covid-19 vaccine available in the US and doesn't require special storage. The company says it currently has about 4 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship "immediately" and should have 20 million ready by the end of March. 

The shot is only 72% effective in the US compared to the 95% rate of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, experts say those numbers are misleading. The J&J vaccine was tested when more known and infectious variants were spreading. 

Public health experts say people should take whatever shot is first available to them. The vaccine is authorized for people ages 18 and older.

ITEP breaks down how stimulus package targets those most in need 

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policies analyzes how the President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which passed the House on Saturday morning, would boost economic well-being for those whose livelihoods were most affected by the pandemic-induced economic crisis. The plan’s cash payments and tax credit expansions combined would have a significant impact on households earning less than $65,000 annually.  

The analysis also counters the idea that the covid-19 relief package isn’t necessary because incomes have increased. They argue that the numbers are skewed due to the unprecedented job losses at the lower end of the income spectrum, 80 percent of which were by those earning less than $27,000 annually.

To my colleagues who say this bill is bold, I say it’s bloated. To those who say it’s urgent, I say it’s unfocused. To those who say it’s popular, I say it is entirely partisan.

Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, R-California on covid stimulus bill

How the stimulus bill could save you $3,100 - through child tax credit and more

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.

Read the full story:

When will the third stimulus check proposal be voted on in the Senate?

The House approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan Saturday. Now it goes to the Senate where Democrats will try to pass it before 14 March.

Read the full story:

I am a happy camper tonight. This is what America needs. Republicans, you ought to be a part of this. But if you’re not, we’re going without you.

Maxine Waters, Rep. D-California

RECAP: $1.9tn stimulus bill passed in House: what happens now?

The House of Representatives passed Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package on Saturday but the bill still has to face the Senate before being passed into law.

11.4 million Americans lose unemployment if stimulus bill not passed by mid-March

Out-of-work Americans will start running out of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits next month. Some 4 million people will see their benefits expire in mid-March, while the payments of another 7.3 million folks will lapse over the following four weeks, according to a report from The Century Foundation.

Oregon Democrat Kurt Schrader voted against Biden's $1.9T stimulus plan

The House approved a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill early Saturday in a win for President Joe Biden.

Moderate Democratic Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon were the only two lawmakers to cross party lines. That sharp partisan divide is making the fight a showdown over who voters will reward for heaping more federal spending to combat the coronavirus and revive the economy atop the $4 trillion approved last year.

PICTURE: Biden speaks after his stimulus bill passed in House

PICTURE: Biden speaks after his stimulus bill passed in House

President Joe Biden speaks in front of a portrait for former President Theodore Roosevelt after the House of Representatives passed his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2021.

Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Now, the bill moves to the United States Senate, where I hope it will receive quick action. We have no time to waste. If we act now — decisively, quickly and boldly — we can finally get ahead of this virus...we can finally get our economy moving again.

Joe Biden, President of the United States on covid stimulus bill

Stimulus bill house vote: which Democrats voted no?

The House last night voted 219-212 to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

Every Republican in the House voted no, along with two Democrats: Jared Golden (Maine) and Kurt Schrader (Oregon). 

The aid plan, which also covers federal unemployment benefits, child tax credits and raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 over the next five years, received the backing of the Ways and Means Committee earlier in February when $940 billion of federal spending on Biden's flagship stimulus legislation was approved.

Biden had promised to pass a fresh round of stimulus payments to US households as soon as he entered office but the lack of bipartisan support for his proposal and the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump disrupted his plan.

The $1,400 stimulus checks will be the largest to date when they are eventually signed into law by Biden, but before that they must pass both Houses of Congress. The bill will now pass to the Senate, which is split 50-50 along party lines with 48 Democrats and two independent seats.

How much could you get in third stimulus check?

Now that the bill has passed in the House of Representatives, and only the hurdle of the Senate remains, have a look and see what kind of stimulus payout you could be entitled to.

Oil

Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues

Oil prices will stage a steady recovery this year as vaccines reach more people and speed an economic revival, with further impetus coming from stimulus and output discipline by top crude producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The survey of 55 participants forecast Brent crude would average $59.07 per barrel in 2021, up from last month's $54.47 forecast.

This is the biggest month-on-month upward revision for the yearly forecast in Reuters polls going back until at least 2016. Brent has averaged around $58.80 so far this year. "Travel and leisure activity look set to catch up to buoyant manufacturing activity due to the mix of stimulus, confidence, vaccines, and more targeted pandemic measures," said Norbert Ruecker of Julius Baer.

 

Canada sticking to stimulus plan despite debt rumblings, sources say

Canada's C$100 billion ($79 billion) stimulus plan is justified by the economic hole caused by the covid-19 pandemic, government sources said, as analysts warned Ottawa against racking up too much debt and making investments that fail to boost growth.

The International Monetary Fund fired a shot across the bow of sorts last week when it said Canada's fiscal risks had risen and that unjustified further spending could "weaken the credibility of the fiscal framework." Canada's Liberal government plans to roll out the stimulus over three years.

"We are far from overheating and the greater crime would be not to do enough, and 2008 is a great example of that," a senior government source said on condition of anonymity.

Canada's economy has shed 858,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, above a peak of 426,000 lost jobs during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, according to Statistics Canada.

The Bank of Canada, which has cut its benchmark interest rate to near zero to counter the economic fallout, doesn't expect the labor market slack to be absorbed until 2023.

Without the stimulus, "we run the risk of a lost generation of young people, or women who are not able to get fully back into the workforce," said a second government source who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The House of Representatives passed Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package on Saturday but the bill still has to face the Senate before being passed into law.

Biden

Biden won't be drawn into battle of words with Trump 

Donald Trump is due to give a speech to a conservative conference in Florida on Sunday but President Joe Biden won't rise to the bait if he is attacked.

Biden's approval ratings in Gallup polls have remained above 55% since he took office on 20 January  and support for the White House's $1.9 trillion Covid-relief package is higher. Democratic strategist Steve Elmendorf said, "One of Biden’s great strengths in the campaign was he focused on the future ... he is doing exactly what he needs to do which is talk about Covid and the economy".

But there's little reason to comment on Trump otherwise, Princeton political history professor Julian Zelizer added that Biden "is on the cusp of a major stimulus relief package that is enormously popular so why allow the former president to take the people’s eyes off of that? I just don’t think there is any incentive for him to do it".

The effects of stimulus checks on consumer spending

Both of the last two rounds of stimulus aid provoked an increase in consumer spending, according to BEA data released on Friday. Consumer spending, or personal consumption expenditure was up by 2.4% in January, which is a clear sign that the US economy is getting stronger.

Last year's figures show the trend continued in May and June when the first round of stimulus checks were sent out - spending rose by 8.69% in May and 6.45% in June, just as those checks were arriving in people's bank accounts. According to MarketWatch, consumers spent more on recreational vehicles, groceries, alcoholic beverages and a wide variety of goods.

$15 minimum wage increase cannot be included in new Relief bill

When Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package go to the Senate, the section concerning plans to increase the federal minimum wage of $7.25 to $15 per hour will be removed due to procedural rules.

Senate official Elizabeth MacDonough ruled that the measure cannot be considered as part of the relief package making its way through Congress and will be considered as a standalone bill or as part of other legislation.

Biden's American Rescue Plan and previous stimulus payments

All you need to know about how direct stimulus payments included the new $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act compare with relief in last year's CARES Act and the $900 billion bipartisan stimulus bill passed in December.

 

The House approved the American Rescue Plan on Saturday but the stimulus bill must pass Senate scrutiny before it is signed into law.

Full story here:

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.

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)."

With President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan passed by the House, the new direct payments could soon be in your bank account, but who is eligible for the $1,400 of financial relief?

Read more:

Unemployment benefits in the Covid-19 Relief Bill

The American Rescue Plan Act, passed by the House just a few hours ago includes a $400 per week unemployment supplement which will be paid up until 29 August, along with an extension of other UI programs.

$1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by 'budget reconciliation'

Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act was passed by budget reconciliation - a process for passing a certain type of fiscal legislation with just a simple majority of 51 Senate votes — rather than the 60 that would be needed if the opposition voted to block it.

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on President Biden's American Rescue Plan, we take a look at how much the new direct payment is worth.

More information here:

Jobless citizens who refuse to work in conditions putting them at risk of catching covid-19 will still be entitled to benefits if they turn down work.

Read more:

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, one Republican abstained. The Biden administration was keen to push the bill through before unemployment programs expire on 14 March.

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 last week, the 2020 tax-filing season, and more.

The House of Representatives has passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill - the American Rescue Plan Act which includes a $1,400 stimulus check direct payment. It was approved by 219 to 212 - one Republican abstained.

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.

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