Third stimulus check news summary: 1 March 2021

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Third stimulus check news summary: 1 March 2021

Stimulus relief bill live updates - Monday 1 March 2021

Headlines:

- $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill passed by the House on Saturday (full story)

- Stimulus check of up to $1,400 included in the Democrat-backed aid package

- Relief bill moves to the Senate (when could a vote happen?). Dems want the final bill passed and with President Biden for his signature by March 14

- Democrats drop plan to penalize companies that don't pay $15 an hour

- Over half of Americans "counting on or need" further stimulus, says CNBC poll

- $3,100 tax saving in covid-19 relief package (full details)

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

US covid-19 cases/deaths: 28.66 million/514,657 (live updates)

Check out some of the latest related news stories:

Manchin

Manchin: "We're looking for a targeted bill"

Joe Manchin, one of a set of more moderate Democratic senators seeking to reduce the cost of President Joe Biden's $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, speaks to the media near the Senate floor on Monday.

Manchin was one of nine Democratic senators who held talks with Biden on Monday. "We’re looking for a targeted bill. We want it to be very targeted, helping the people that need help the most," he later told reporters, per Bloomberg.

Lowering the federal outlay on the bill's round of $1,400 stimulus checks and its provision for $350bn in funding for state and local governments were among the issues discussed, the West Virginia senator indicated.

Manchin is also backing a reduction of the bill's planned $400 weekly unemployment-benefits supplement to $300.

(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Minimum-wage increase would lift 1.3m Americans out of poverty - Jayapal

Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal says it an increase in the national minimum wage is “deeply essential” after signing a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris making the case for such a measure to be kept in Biden’s stimulus bill.

On Monday, 22 House Democrats wrote to Biden and Harris urging the latter to user her powers as the Senate’s presiding officer to overrule the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that a minimum-wage hike to $15 an hour cannot be passed under ‘budgetary reconciliation’, the process Dems are using to push the president’s $1.9tn relief package through the upper chamber without Republican support.

Reconciliation allows lawmakers to pass legislation with a simple majority of 51, rather than the filibuster-proof 60 votes usually required in the Senate, which is currently a 50-50 Democrat-Republican split.  

There’s 27 million people that would be lifted up in terms of their wages, 1.3 million people who would be lifted out of poverty, 30% of black workers would get a raise, 26% of Latinx workers would get a raise,” Jayapal told MSNBC on Monday.

She added: “It is just a myth that number one it’s not going to lift a lot of people up out of poverty, that it’s not deeply essential after 12 years of not raising the wage. And number two, this is a policy that is popular with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Let’s not forget that Florida went for Donald Trump in the last election, and voted a $15 minimum wage through with a super majority of voters.”

Jayapal continued: “I’ve already said that I think the parliamentarian should be overruled - that is not unprecedented. Hubert Humphrey did it in 1967 and 1969, Rockefeller did it in 1975. These are certainly unprecedented times where we could thank the parliamentarian for her opinion - it’s an advisory opinion - and then we could still include it […].

I’ve spoken to the speaker about this, I’ve spoken to the White House about it, it’s why the House left it in our bill even after the parliamentarian’s ruling, because we believe that it has to be included. Democrats are going to have to have a choice here: are we going to give Mitch McConnell veto power over all the things that we have promised to voters across the country and that are really popular.”

She added: “There are so many things that we have promised. Voters gave us the House, the Senate and the White House and we’re either going to have to include things in reconciliation or we’re going to have to reform the filibuster. Frankly, we’re probably going to have to do both, because there are some things that can’t be included in reconciliation.”

Biden meets moderate Democratic senators for relief-bill talks

President Joe Biden on Monday spoke to nine more moderate Democratic senators as he bids to push through his $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package, which includes a round of direct payments of up to $1,400 for eligible Americans.

The bill, which passed the House on Saturday, is to be taken up this week by the Senate, where Democrats are aiming to approve the legislation without Republican support via the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process, which requires a simple majority of 51 votes rather than a filibuster-proof 60.

The Senate is a 50-50 split - with Vice-President Kamala Harris given a tie-breaking vote - so the bill will need the support of every Democratic senator to pass.

Centrist Democrats such as Joe Manchin and Jon Tester are seeking to rein in the spending involved in the stimulus package, with Tester commenting after the meeting with Biden: "We talked about the package and we talked about some […] targeting, targeting dollars.”

Manchin has said the $350bn in the bill set aside for funding for state and local governments is too high and has also said described himself as "supportive" of a $300 week unemployment-benefits boost - a figure $100 lower than the $400 supplement included in Biden’s relief plan.

Biden is to continue discussions with Democratic senators in a bid to ensure party unity on the bill. "We’ve reserved time in his schedule to ensure that he can be engaged, roll up his sleeves, and be personally involved in making phone calls, having more Zoom meetings, potentially having people here to the Oval Office to get this across the finish line," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a news briefing on Monday.

Schumer: "We will pass the bold response Americans urgently need"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says the upper chamber of US Congress will begin debating President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill “this week”.

The package, which includes a stimulus check of up to $1,400 for qualifying Americans, passed the House of Representatives at the weekend.

"Make no mistake," Schumer tweeted, "We will pass the bold COVID response Americans urgently need."

He did not specify when the proposed legislation might go to a vote on the Senate floor.

Sanders vows to force vote on $15-an-hour minimum wage

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has said he plans to force a Senate vote this week on amendment restoring the $15-an-hour national minimum wage to Democrats’ $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill, in the face of the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that a pay increase cannot be passed in the upper chamber as part of the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process.

"This week, as part of the reconciliation bill, I will be offering an amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour," Sanders, who is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said on Monday in a series of tweets. "At a time when millions of workers are earning starvation wages, when the minimum wage has not been raised by Congress since 2007 and stands at a pathetic $7.25 an hour, it is time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage."

Sanders added that he feels it is "absurd" that an unelected official has the power to scupper the proposed. He also called for an end to the filibuster in the Senate - which requires a minimum of 60 votes for a bill to advance from the debate stage to a vote - although he conceded that a minimum-wage hike most likely would not win a simple majority of Democratic votes, either.

"Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed by the decision of the parliamentarian who ruled that the minimum wage provision was inconsistent with the Byrd Rule and the reconciliation process," he tweeted. "But even more importantly, I regard it as absurd that the parliamentarian, a Senate staffer elected by no one, can prevent a wage increase for 32 million workers.

"My own personal view is that the Senate should ignore the parliamentarian’s advice, which is wrong in a number of respects. I am not sure, however, that my view at this point is the majority view in the Democratic Caucus.

"Obviously, as soon as we can, we must end the filibuster that currently exists in the U.S. Senate. Given the enormous crises facing working families today, we cannot allow a minority of the Senate to obstruct what the vast majority of the American people want and need."

If Dems get wobbly in the Senate, the relief bill could suffer delays, amendments

The Dems got their stimulus bill through the House, as expected, though have accepted they’ll have to lose the measures to raise the minimum wage to $15 after the Senate Parliamentarian said that couldn’t be done under budget reconciliation, the method being used to get the legislation through the Senate.

And the budget reconciliation rules also make the entire bill open to attack. The procedures mean senators can force votes on as many amendments they like, and with the numbers so razor thin, if two Democrats switch sides the bill could be amended with the 49 Republicans.

The risk Dem leaders see is that some of these amendments could be lethal to the bill as a whole and so they are working hard to keep all their senators in line, pleading with them to hold firm and ignore amendments that could change the heart of the bill and possibly ruin the chances of getting it on Biden’s desk by March 14.

Third stimulus check for dependents: how much extra money would they receive?

In a third round of stimulus checks, dependents could be in for a much larger pay out. The checks are being considered as part of a $1.9tn bill this week.

Read the full story:

$400 new weekly unemployment benefits: when are they coming?

Democrats want to get the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to Biden’s desk before 14 March. The Senate is expected to begin debating the bill Wednesday.

Fresh negotiations between Democrats on eligibility for third stimulus checks ahead of Senate vote

President Biden launched a lobbying effort targeting fellow Democrats on Monday to unify them behind his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill as the Senate prepares to move forward on the massive legislation this week, per the Washington Post.

Democrats don’t have a vote to spare in the Senate, but several moderate-leaning senators have raised concerns about the structure of unemployment insurance benefits and Biden’s plan to send $350 billion to state and local governments, among other issues.

Biden convened a group of these Democrats on a conference call Monday afternoon, the first in a days-long outreach campaign that will also include calling into the weekly Senate Democratic lunch on Tuesday and addressing the House Democratic caucus on Wednesday evening.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who participated in Monday’s call, said the conversation focused on “targeting the dollars ... it wasn’t talking about reducing it, just targeting” the money that was included.

Among the policies discussed at the meeting included tightening income eligibility for the $1,400 stimulus payments, according to two people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. House Democrats added new restrictions to the payments for affluent Americans but ultimately rejected proposals to prevent single Americans earning between $50,000 and $75,000 from receiving the stimulus payments.

Third stimulus check calculator: how much could you receive?

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

Why was there a proposal for a $10,000 stimulus check and could it pass?

A Republican went big in mocking the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, and even filed an extreme amendment to the bill in the House to make his point.

Read the full story:

Tax provisions in the stimulus bill could halve childhood poverty 

The $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, is a sweeping relief package. One provision in particular could help cut the number of children living in poverty by two million. The expansion of the Child Tax Credit would see families receiving up to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 per child under 18.

Biden and Lopez Obrador have virtual summit 

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador met with President Joe Biden virtually today. The two are set to talk about migration, law enforcement cooperation and economic development plans for southern Mexico and Central America as per Reuters. It is also expected that Lopez Obrador will ask Biden to consider sharing part of the US covid-19 vaccine supply. 

Biden is open to discussing the matter as part of a broader regional effort to cooperate in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic according to a source. However Biden is focused on “getting jabs in the arms” of Americans as his “number one priority”. 

House extends federal pandemic unemployment benefits

The House approved a bill that will extend and increase federal pandemic unemployment benefits set to expire 14 March until at least the end of August.

Read the full story:

Do GOP lawmakers support $1400 stimulus checks?

This week the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill begins its next stage of life in the Senate, so have any GOP members expressed support for the bill?

Read the full story:

Minimum wage hike stripped from stimulus package 

Democrats have backed down from an effort to use President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour without Republican support. The bill was dropped after two Senate Democrats expressed doubts about passing an increase. Democrats are still hopeful they can address the issue in Congress. They will not try to pass the wage hike by adding tax penalties to the covid-19 bill either to avoid delays in passing the covid-19 relief bill. 

Democrats and some Republicans have voiced support for the idea of raising the minimum wage, now $7.25, for the first time since 2009. The two sides disagree on how much with a GOP proposal for a rise to $10 per hour, but said employers should also verify the wage is going to workers who are legally in the United States.

American families could receive a windfall from stimulus 

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 covid-19 relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, is a sweeping relief package aimed at stabilizing the economy and boosting coronavirus vaccinations and testing. 

It also contains a number of measures to not just shore up struggling American families' finances but also to stimulate consumer spending and fight poverty. Under the current bill families could see significant increases in their incomes from the $1,400 stimulus checks per person to eligible Americans, to tax provisions designed to help families with children.

Biden to address concerns of moderate Democratic Senators on stimulus bill 

The American Rescue Plan Act is President Biden $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief proposal. It appears the controversial $15 minimum wage hike will be left out of the senate version but another proposal has gained attention. The $350 billion for state and local governments in the legislation has caused concern among moderate Democratic lawmakers that some states could cut local taxes rather than spend the money on needs related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The dispute could complicate plans to get the legislation signed into law ahead of a 14 March deadline when enhanced unemployment insurance benefits will expire if no action is taken. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring the package to the floor as soon as Wednesday.

GOP complain stimulus bill contains pork barrel spending 

Republican leaders are speaking out against President Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill, accusing Democrats of wasteful spending for items unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic. There have been two targets in particular the GOP says Pelosi and Schumer squeezed into the bill for their own states. For San Francisco, $100 million to help extend the area’s BART commuter rail system south to San Jose and for New York $1.5 million for the bridge connecting upstate New York to Canada. 

However both of those projects were either approved or requested under the Trump administration. According to the AP funding for the BART project was approved previously by the Trump administration and is not in Pelosi’s San Francisco district. As for the bridge, it was requested in 2020 by the Trump administration’s Transportation Department. It also happens to be in Republican Representative Elise Stefanik’s district. 

Group of governors claim stimulus package is "biased" 

Governors from 22 states issued a joint statement Saturday in opposition to how federal funds would be allocated in the latest covid-19 relief bill. The joint statement takes issue with the funding allocated to states in the bill, calling it “biased.” The governors argue the proposal “allocates aid based on a state’s unemployed population, rather than its actual population.”  

The House passed a $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill Saturday morning that would include $1,400 checks for most Americans and billions of dollars for schools, state and local governments and businesses. The House version included a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour by 2025, but that is expected to be stripped from the bill in the Senate. The relief bill now heads to the Senate for consideration where debate on the bill is expected to begin on Wednesday.

Democrats race to pass stimulus bill before week is out 

The Senate could move as soon as this week to pass their version of President Biden's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill. Senate Democrats look set to drop the $15 per hour minimum wage hike included in the House version that passed in the wee hours on Saturday. However the Senate parliamentarian decided the measure couldn’t be included in the budget bill under reconciliation rules whereby Democrats could pass the bill with a simple majority. 

Democrats had discussed plans to include a Plan B to get around the parliamentarian’s decision. Either ignore the ruling or penalize corporations that didn't increase wages on their own. It looks now as if the Democrats have decided on speed and avoid an intra-party fight. Two Democratic Senators had expressed opposition to the measure ensuring the Democrats had only 48 of the 50 votes needed, absent any GOP votes. The GOP is unanimous in their opposition to the covid-19 relief bill. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring the package to the floor as soon as Wednesday. Then the upper chamber of Congress will begin 20 hours of debate followed by another vote-a-rama. There is no definite time when the voting could conclude but expectations are sometime Friday morning. Then the revised version will go back to the House for the lower chamber's approval.

Comparing the third stimulus check to the other two payments

The $1.9tn coronavirus aid package passed by the House on Saturday is set to provide stimulus checks worth up to $1,400. How does this compare to the economic relief offered by the Trump administration?

Full story:

Bill Cassidy

Bill Cassidy: "Such a joke" to say Biden has listened to Republicans on stimulus

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has told CNN’s Dana Bash it is a "joke" to say Joe Biden has taken Republicans’ views on the next coronavirus relief package into account, as Democrats bid to push the president’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief package through the Senate, having passed the legislation in the House on Saturday.

Speaking to Bash before Cassidy, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there have “more Republicans from the House and Senate sitting in the Oval Office over the last month having a discussion, having a debate at times with the president about what they want to see in this package, what we can work together on, than perhaps over the last four years”.

Cassidy did not agree with Psaki’s claim, however, saying: “I have no clue how [the stimulus bill] will come out of the Senate - Republicans have not been involved.  I listed to Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaking about how we’ve been listened to, and I started laughing. That is such a joke.

“You can find one thing where perhaps [Democrats have said] ‘oh my gosh, we’ll get criticized on that so we’ll adapt', but the reality is that they put forward a package which reflects the interests of the Democratic constituencies that elected the president. Yes, it has things for broader Americans, but much of it is only for those.”

“We’ve had five different covid relief packages which passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis. All five when President Trump was president, and Republicans controlled the Senate. We have demonstrated that we can come together in a way in which the interests of all Americans are represented, and you come up with a better package than if you only have one party’s interests represented.

“My fear is this becomes a Trojan horse for things which actually injure our country. Democratic economists like Larry Summers have pointed to the danger that this will ignite inflation - which hurts middle-income families, working-class families, chewing up their savings. This can be the Trojan horse that destroys the future for families, but it sneaks in because it gives initial benefits. That’s my concern. It would have been better had they actually listened to us in fact, as opposed to merely in rhetoric.”

Who voted in favour in the House of Representatives?

The vote in the lower chamber, which concluded early Saturday morning, was split largely across party lines apart from two glaring exceptions - Democrats who voted against the bill - Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Jared Golden of Maine.

The votes in favour were all Democratic Representatives.

The vote tally was 219-212, with all Republicans voting against the bill.

Shortly after the bill was passed, the President praised the work of the House members, "If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again, and the people of this country have suffered far too much for too long," he said, speaking from the White House. "We need to relieve that suffering."

Read the full story here.

Will I be able to apply for a third stimulus check and $3,000 child tax credit?

President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief package took another key step towards passing through Congress when the House approved the bill on Saturday.

Among the many measures for helping struggling American families was a new round of increased $1,400 stimulus checks and tax credits to help families. The enhanced Child Tax Credit could see parents receiving up to $300 per month per child in direct payments starting in July.

With these two programs households could see as much as $3,200 per child under the age of 6 and $2,900 per child 17 and under before the end of 2021. 

Then when they file their tax return in 2022, they could claim the remainder of the child tax benefits from the enhanced child tax and other tax credits for children.

Although the tax provisions are temporary and will only apply to the 2021 fiscal year, Democrats would like to make some of these measures permanent.

Read more:

Oil

Oil prices rise after House passes stimulus bill

Oil prices rose on Monday, supported by optimism about covid-19 vaccinations, a US stimulus package and growing factory activity in Europe despite coronavirus restrictions.

Brent crude was up 83 cents, or 1.3%, at $65.25 a barrel by 1257 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude jumped 79 cents, or 1.3%, to $62.29 a barrel.

Both contracts finished February 18% higher.

“The three major supportive factors are the prevalent vaccine rollouts, the optimism about economic growth and the view that the oil balance will get tighter as a result of the first two points,” PVM Oil Associates analyst Tamas Varga said.

Support also came from a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by the US House of Representatives on Saturday. (Reuters)

Democrats drop proposed penalties for companies that don't pay $15/hour

Democrats in the Senate are to abandon plans to hand tax penalties to big companies that don’t pay their workers at least $15 an hour, according to The Hill.

The media outlet cited two sources as saying the bid to include such a measure in President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package has been dropped over concerns that finalizing the details of such a proposal would slow down the passage of the bill.

Although a minimum-wage raise to $15 an hour was in the stimulus bill passed by the House on Saturday, the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that this provision cannot be approved in the upper chamber under the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process Dems are using to get the relief package through Congress.

Penalizing large corporations for paying employees less than $15 an hour was seen as a potential alternative to a direct minimum-wage increase, but it now appears this won’t happen, either.

"We worked through the weekend and it became clear that finalizing 'plan B' with the caucus would delay passage and risk going over the jobless benefits cliff on March 14," The Hill was told.

Democrats seeking Thursday Senate vote on $1.9tn stimulus bill

Democrats are aiming to begin Senate debate on President Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus bill on Wednesday, before holding a vote on the package on Thursday, CNN’s Manu Raju has reported.

US Senate Democrats drop minimum wage plan for $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill

US Democrats, anxious for Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill within the next two weeks, have resolved a potential sticking point for getting the sweeping legislation through the narrowly divided Senate.

The House of Representatives narrowly approved the bill to fight the pandemic and boost the economy early Saturday. The action now moves to the Senate, where Democrats do not expect much if any Republican help, even though polls indicate a majority of Americans - around 70% - favour the measure.

Over the weekend, top Democrats abandoned a controversial plan to use US tax policy as an incentive for businesses to more than double the minimum wage to $15 per hour, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The proposal would have complicated Senate passage. (Reuters)

US citizens living abroad are eligible for $1,400 stimulus checks

In the previous first and second stimulus payments, US citizens living outside the country were eligible, if they met the other requirements. If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, the IRS should have direct deposited your first two payments into your US bank account. If you don’t have a bank account in the US, the IRS would have sent you a check, since it can't deposit money into foreign bank accounts.

The third stimulus check will work the same and the IRS will use either your 2019 or 2020 income-tax filing, depending which they have on file when the bill passes and payments are sent out.

If you didn’t receive either of the first two stimulus payments you can still claim the money when you file your 1040 or 1040-SR (for senior adults) for the 2020 fiscal year. You’ll need to use the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 tax forms.

Read more:

Is it necessary to live in the US to be eligible for payment?

The House passed President Biden’s first major piece of legislation, the $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill, which includes a third round of stimulus checks, this time for $1,400 per person. Now the bill must pass through the Senate with Democrats on a tight schedule to get the bill to Biden to sign before 14 March.

The current proposal will top up the $600 stimulus checks that were authorized in December with an additional $1,400 to reach the $2000 stimulus check pledged to voters.

The bill expands eligibility for the checks to mixed-status families, who missed out on the first two rounds. Once again, many non-US citizens who live and work in America, US citizens who live abroad and residents of a US territories will be eligible.

Bill Gates: "Government always has a hard time targeting exactly the people who are in need"

Bill Gates says President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package, which has failed to get support from congressional Republicans because of its size and scope, needs to be more targeted.

No Republican representatives voted for the bill as it was approved by the House on Saturday, and the legislation is not expected to get any support from GOP senators, leaving the Democrats preparing to push the package through the upper chamber via the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process.

Passing legislation through reconciliation only requires a simple majority of 51 - which the Dems can achieve if every senator in the party votes for the bill - rather than the usual, filibuster-proof 60.

"The government always has a hard time targeting exactly the people who are in need and particularly if you’re designing programs very quickly," Gates told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. "There’s no doubt there’s some number of people who really are still suffering, say it’s 15% out there.

"The other 85% had the benefit of last year’s stimulus activities and the poverty rate’s down and aggregate income levels are up, so it will be tricky when you want to move fast to be targeted. If you add this stimulus to the next round, to the ‘build back better’, that makes at least a few commentators worried about inflationary pressure.

"So I know there’s a lot of good things in this stimulus bill and the ‘build back better’ is going to have a lot of fantastic climate-related stuff in it, but I hope that we can target it better - and we are definitely getting to levels where those inflationary worries aren’t crazy."

How to claim your stimulus check on 2020 tax return

Didn’t get your second stimulus check? Don't fear, you can claim your missing payment as part of your 2020 tax return through Recovery Rebate Credit.

The first stimulus checks, sent out in April 2020 were paid out up to $1,200 per person plus up to $500 per dependent. 

The second stimulus payment made in December 2020 was up to $600 per person and up to $600 per dependent. If your second stimulus check was a no-show, you can file a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.

Read more:

More than half of Americans counting on another round of stimulus

According to a CNBC and Acorns poll carried out by Survey Monkey, 53% of Americans are "counting or need another round of stimulus".

The survey found that BAME people in the US are most in need of economic relief: the above percentage rose to 53% for Asian Americans, 66% in the case of Hispanic Americans and 73% for black Americans.

The CNBC/Acorn/Survey Monkey research also found that black women have been particularly badly affected by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic: 38% of people in this demographic said they were digging into emergency savings or have had to borrow money from family or friends.

When will the stimulus bill be voted on in the Senate?

On Saturday, the House approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which includes a round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for qualifying Americans. It now goes to the Senate, where Democrats will try to pass it before 14 March.

Full story:

"When I show up to work and I do a job, pay me my money. Pay me a wage that is decent"

Cori Bush, one of 22 House Democrats who have urged Kamala Harris to overrule the Senate's exclusion of a minimum-wage increase from stimulus legislation (interview with MSNBC)

"Democrats made a promise to the American people that we would raise the minimum wage and it's time to deliver on that promise. We cannot allow for an unelected parliamentarian and arcane Senate rules to stand in our way"

Marie Newman, also among the signatories to House Democrats' letter to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

House Dems call on VP to overrule minimum-wage decision

A group of 22 House Democrats have written a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris urging Harris to use her power as the Senate’s presiding officer to overrule the Senate parliamentarian’s decision not to allow the inclusion of a minimum-wage increase in the new stimulus bill.

Elizabeth Macdonough last week ruled that a measure seeking to up the minimum wage to $15 an hour did not fall within the regulations of 'budgetary reconciliation', a process which Democrats are set to use to pass Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus package in the Senate without support from Republicans.

"Eighty-one million people cast their ballots to elect you on a platform that called for a $15 minimum wage," the group of Democrats wrote in the letter to Biden and Harris.

"We urge you to keep that promise and call on the Presiding Officer of the Senate to refute the Senate Parliamentarian’s advice on a Byrd Rule point of order and maintain the $15 minimum wage provision in the American Rescue Plan."

Representative Ro Khanna, one of the 22 congressmen and women who signed the letter, said: "If we don’t overrule the Senate parliamentarian, we are condoning poverty wages for millions of Americans."

US stocks: futures jump on J&J vaccine cheer, stimulus optimism

US stock index futures jumped more than 1% on Monday as Johnson & Johnson's newly approved covid-19 vaccine and progress in a new $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package fueled optimism over a swift economic recovery.

Shares of cruise liner and hotel operators, and carriers including Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Hilton, Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines gained between 1% and 5% premarket.

Johnson & Johnson began shipping its single-dose shot vaccine after it became the third authorized covid-19 vaccine in the US over the weekend.

President Biden scored his first legislative win as the House passed his coronavirus relief package early on Saturday. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Sectors that stand to benefit more from an economic rebound outperformed, with Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co jumping between 1.3% and 2.2%, and energy firms Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp between 1.6% and 3.5%.

Wall Street's main indexes ended lower last week, with the Nasdaq suffering its worst week in four months, as a rise in long-dormant yields signaled bonds are more serious investment competition, sparking a pullback in high-valuation tech stocks.

Apple, Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc rebounded between 1.3% and 2.3% on Monday.

At 06:03 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 318 points, or 1.03% and S&P 500 E-minis were up 42.25 points, or 1.11%. Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 186.75 points, or 1.45%.

(Reuters)

What is 'budget reconciliation'?

There's been a lot of talk about the 'budget reconciliation' process in the past few weeks - and if you're not quite clear on what it is or how it works, this video explainer may help:

"I can tell you on the American Rescue Plan, if our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we’re not going to do that"

Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to President Biden, in an interview with Axios

Leaving out minimum-wage measures will speed up passage of stimulus bill

Hunter Hammond, an economic analyst at financial firm Heights Security, says that although the exclusion of an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour from President Biden’s relief bill is bad news for low-income workers, Americans are likely to get their stimulus more quickly as a result of the decision.

Last week, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth Macdonough ruled that the minimum-wage hike cannot be included in a stimulus bill passed in the upper house using the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process.

Reconciliation allows legislation to be passed in the Senate with a simple majority of 51, rather than the usual 60. With the chamber an even, 50-50 split, Democrats need every senator in their party to back the bill, but had faced opposition to the $15-an-hour minimum wage from moderate Dems Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.

"This decision, while disappointing to progressives, makes the calculus of passing the bill much easier for Democrats," Hammond said, per CBS. "They will avoid a difficult battle in the Senate, where two Democratic senators oppose an increase to $15/hour (though at least one of them has said he could support a smaller increase) meaning that the party could have been subject to a brutal internal fight on the topic."

Democrats had considered adding a 'plan B' provision to the bill that would have involved tax penalties for large corporations that fail to pay their workers $15 an hour or over, but have now reportedly dropped this proposal.

Comparing the third stimulus check to the other two payments

The $1.9tn coronavirus aid package passed by the House on Saturday is set to provide stimulus checks worth up to $1,400. How does this compare to the economic relief offered by the Trump administration?

Full details:

 

Can unemployed Americans who refuse a job apply for jobless benefits?

The lowdown:

Republicans "will regret not backing Biden's stimulus bill"

MSNBC columnist Hayes Brown says Republicans' opposition to President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill comes down to an attempt to boost their prospects in the midterm elections in 2022 - but he doesn’t expect the play to work as it did a decade ago.

"Whether Republicans like it or not (and they don't) the bill as it stands is the only game in town right now," Brown writes. "In response, they are pretty transparent about their efforts to obstruct like the dickens in the hope that they can turn around and blame Democrats for not getting anything done for Americans in the 2022 midterm elections."

Amid the Great Recession in 2009, Hayes notes, GOP opposition to President Obama’s American Recovery and Relief Act led to a smaller bill than was initially planned, one which, in Hayes' words, proved "less effective and ultimately less popular". However, he expects Democrats to have "learned their lesson" from this experience:

"Now, there's still a chance that Republicans' cynical gamble will pay off for them politically. By fall 2010, just ahead of the midterms, the GOP's anti-Obama mantra had sunk in with voters — more than two-thirds of Americans thought the 2009 stimulus bill was "a waste" by then. But Democrats may have learned their lesson: Go big or go home. They aren't budging on the size and scope of the bill, making it less likely that its effects are forgotten quickly.

"All this means that I, for one, am looking forward to the midterm commercials in 2022, when Republican members of the House are touting the benefits of the package while bending over backward to avoid citing where the funding came from. But we'll know. And we'll remember how hard they worked to block it.”

Cassidy: "Such a joke" to say Biden has listened to Republicans on stimulus

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) has told CNN’s Dana Bash it is a "joke" to say Joe Biden has taken Republicans’ views on the next coronavirus relief package into account, as Democrats bid to push the president’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief package through the Senate, having passed the legislation in the House on Saturday.

Speaking to Bash before Cassidy, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there have “more Republicans from the House and Senate sitting in the Oval Office over the last month having a discussion, having a debate at times with the president about what they want to see in this package, what we can work together on, than perhaps over the last four years”.

Cassidy did not agree with Psaki’s claim, however, saying: “I have no clue how [the stimulus bill] will come out of the Senate - Republicans have not been involved.  I listed to Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaking about how we’ve been listened to, and I started laughing. That is such a joke.

“You can find one thing where perhaps [Democrats have said] ‘oh my gosh, we’ll get criticized on that so we’ll adapt', but the reality is that they put forward a package which reflects the interests of the Democratic constituencies that elected the president. Yes, it has things for broader Americans, but much of it is only for those.”

We’ve had five different covid relief packages which passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis. All five when President Trump was president, and Republicans controlled the Senate. We have demonstrated that we can come together in a way in which the interests of all Americans are represented, and you come up with a better package than if you only have one party’s interests represented.

My fear is this becomes a Trojan horse for things which actually injure our country. Democratic economists like Larry Summers have pointed to the danger that this will ignite inflation - which hurts middle-income families, working-class families, chewing up their savings. This can be the Trojan horse that destroys the future for families, but it sneaks in because it gives initial benefits. That’s my concern. It would have been better had they actually listened to us in fact, as opposed to merely in rhetoric.”

Who voted for the $1.9tn stimulus bill in the House?

Democrats are aiming to hold a Senate vote on President Biden's coronavirus stimulus package this week, after the House of Representatives approved the $1.9tn bill in the early hours of Saturday.

Here's a look at who in the House voted for the bill:

Bill Gates on Biden's stimulus package: "I hope we can target it better"

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package, which has failed to get support from congressional Republicans because of its size and scope, needs to be more targeted.

No Republican representatives voted for the bill as it was approved by the House on Saturday, and the legislation is not expected to get any support from GOP senators, leaving the Democrats preparing to push the package through the upper chamber via the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process.

Passing legislation through reconciliation only requires a simple majority of 51 - which the Dems can achieve if every senator in the party votes for the bill - rather than the usual, filibuster-proof 60.

"The government always has a hard time targeting exactly the people who are in need and particularly if you’re designing programs very quickly," Gates told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. "There’s no doubt there’s some number of people who really are still suffering, say it’s 15% out there.

"The other 85% had the benefit of last year’s stimulus activities and the poverty rate’s down and aggregate income levels are up, so it will be tricky when you want to move fast to be targeted. If you add this stimulus to the next round, to the ‘build back better’, that makes at least a few commentators worried about inflationary pressure.

"So I know there’s a lot of good things in this stimulus bill and the ‘build back better’ is going to have a lot of fantastic climate-related stuff in it, but I hope that we can target it better - and we are definitely getting to levels where those inflationary worries aren’t crazy."

76% of Americans support $1.9tn stimulus package

In case you missed it: a poll conducted by Politico/Morning Consult in recent days showed that over three-quarters of Americans want Congress to pass President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill, which includes a round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400.

76% of Democrats said they either strongly supported or somewhat supported the bill, known as the American Rescue Plan Act, while 60% of Republicans expressed their backing for the legislation.

This support among Republican voters comes despite not a single GOP representative voting for the bill when it passed the House on Saturday. The package is also expected to get no votes from Republicans in the Senate.

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

Taxpayers in the United States have until 15 April 2021 to submit their federal income tax return for 2020 - but people whose earnings didn't reach a certain level do not have to file.

Here's an overview of how much you need to have earned in 2020 to be required to complete a US tax return this year:

 

Is it necessary to live in the US to be eligible for a stimulus check?

US citizens living abroad were eligible for the first two stimulus checks and will also qualify for the third direct payment, which is a part of the $1.9tn American Rescue Act passed by the House of Representatives at the weekend.

Further info:

GOP lawmaker Gosar seeks $10,000 stimulus checks

Republican congressman Paul Gosar this weekend unsuccessfully tabled an amendment seeking to increase the maximum third stimulus check from $1,400 to $10,000, in an attempt to highlight what he and other GOP legislators claim is excessive non-coronavirus-related spending in the Democrats’ $1.9tn relief bill.

"I offered an amendment to prioritize $10,000 stimulus checks to Americans most affected by covid-19 and lockdowns," Gosar told Fox News. "Instead, Democrats chose foreign aid, Big Tech transit, and Pelosi’s political priorities over direct relief to American citizens."

What is the child tax credit and how does it affect tax filing?

Here's more information on the proposed child tax credit in the $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill that has now gone to the Senate:

Psaki CNN

"We have not seen a substantive big proposal back from the Republicans" - Psaki

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has defended the $1.9tn stimulus bill passed by the Democrat-controlled House without any Republican support, in the face of President Joe Biden’s pledge to embrace bipartisanship when he took office in January.

"I think there have been more Republicans from the House and Senate sitting in the Oval Office over the last month having a discussion, having a debate at times with the president about what they want to see in this package, what we can work together on, than perhaps over the last four years," Psaki told CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday.

"The president has been open to hearing good ideas, hearing good ideas from Republicans and Democrats on how to make it better, and at this point in time though, what this proposal is going to address is how we’re going to help people bridge through this period of time: get them direct checks, reopen schools, get more vaccines in the arms of Americans.

"We have not seen a substantive big proposal in response back from Republicans. This is the scope of the problem and the scope of the kind of package that we need to pass to address that."

Asked if Biden is open to changing the legislation to address Republicans’ concerns, Psaki said: "He’s been open from the beginning. There’s been more targeting of the direct checks - he’s not been willing to negotiate on the size of the checks, but there has been a targeting to ensure that it hits the Americans who need that help the most. That’s an idea that has come up in meeting with Democrats and Republicans, and he’s certainly opening to hearing their ideas.

"What he will not do, though, is make this a Washington political partisan issue and prevent the American people form getting the relief they need. 70% of the public wants this bill to pass. It’s going through the Senate process, this is Democracy in action, we know that the bill will look different on the way out as it did when he presented it in his prime-time address.

"But there is an urgency here, because by the middle of March 11 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance. So we need to move quickly and rapidly to get this relief out to the American public."

(Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

How your 2020 tax return could affect your third stimulus check

The stimulus check you are eligible for as part of the proposed third round of direct payments may be affected by the income information you provide the IRS in your 2020 tax return.

More info:

Dems seeking Thursday Senate vote on $1.9tn stimulus bill

Democrats are aiming to begin Senate debate on President Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus bill on Wednesday, before holding a vote on the package on Thursday, CNN’s Manu Raju has reported.

Oil prices rebound after House passes stimulus bill

Oil prices rebounded more than $1 on Monday after the US House of Representatives passed a huge stimulus package.

Brent crude futures for May rose $1.07, or 1.7%, to $65.49 per barrel by 0410 GMT. The April contract expired on Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped $1.01, or 1.6%, to $62.51 a barrel.

"Oil prices are recovering this morning in line with most risk assets on the back of the U.S. stimulus bill passing the House," Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at Axi, wrote in a note on Monday.

The House passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package early on Saturday, lifting investors’ risk appetite and Asian stock markets. The package will now move to the Senate for further deliberation.

The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine also buoyed the economic outlook.

(Reuters)

McCarthy GOP

House minority leader hits out at Dems over stimulus bill

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has taken aim at the Democrats as they bid to push through President Joe Biden’s relief package without GOP votes, branding the $1.9tn stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday as "unbelievable" and "corrupt".

Not a single House Republican voted for the bill, which now goes to the Senate - where Democrats are set to use the 'budgetary reconciliation' process to pass the legislation without GOP support.

"It’s just unbelievable," McCarthy told Fox News this weekend. “This thing is just so corrupt, so costly, and when you look at it, it’s just so liberal. Think about it for one moment […]: we have done five other covid relief bills and every single one of those was bipartisan. The Biden administration has become the most partisan administration in modern history."

(Photo: REUTERS/Octavio Jones)

Tax saving of $3,100 in stimulus bill

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 lowdown:

How to claim your stimulus check on 2020 tax return

Didn’t get your second stimulus check? Never fear, you can claim your missing payment as part of your 2020 tax return through Recovery Rebate Credit.

Full details:

New child tax credit: how to calculate

As part of the $1.9tn stimulus bill that was passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, an expanded child tax credit would see qualifying parents stand to receive monthly payments of up to $300 per child.

Find out more:

Dems drop proposed penalties for companies that don't pay $15/hour

Democrats in the Senate are to abandon plans to hand tax penalties to big companies that don’t pay their workers at least $15 an hour, The Hill has reported.

The media outlet cited two sources as saying the bid to include such a measure in President Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package has been dropped over concerns that finalizing the details of such a proposal would slow down the passage of the bill.

Although a minimum-wage rise to $15 an hour was in the stimulus bill passed by the House on Saturday, the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that this provision cannot be approved in the upper chamber under the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process Dems are using to get the relief package through Congress.

Penalizing large corporations for paying employees less than $15 an hour was seen as a potential alternative to a direct minimum-wage increase, but it now appears this won’t happen, either.

"We worked through the weekend and it became clear that finalizing 'plan B' with the caucus would delay passage and risk going over the jobless benefits cliff on March 14," The Hill was told.

Over half of Americans counting on another round of stimulus

According to a CNBC and Acorns poll carried out by Survey Monkey, 53% of Americans are "counting or need another round of stimulus".

The survey found that BAME people in the US are most in need of economic relief: the above percentage rose to 53% for Asian Americans, 66% in the case of Hispanic Americans and 73% for black Americans.

The CNBC/Acorn/Survey Monkey research also found that black women have been particularly badly affected by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic: 38% of people in this demographic said they were digging into emergency savings or have had to borrow money from family or friends.

This is 13% more than the figure of Americans overall who have used savings or had to borrow money, the survey said.

When will the stimulus bill be voted on in the Senate?

On Saturday, the House approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which includes a round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for qualifying Americans. It now goes to the Senate, where Democrats will try to pass it before 14 March.

Full story:

Third stimulus check live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog bringing you the latest updates on the proposed third round of stimulus checks, which would see qualifying Americans receive a payment of up to $1,400.

The direct payment is part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn relief bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday and now goes to the Senate.

Although the package passed in the House featured an increase in the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, it has been ruled that this measure cannot be passed in the Senate under the ‘budgetary reconciliation’ process that Democrats are set to use to get the bill through the upper house without Republican support.

Democrats had considered a ‘plan B’ to this minimum-wage hike that would have involved handing large corporations tax penalties if they paid workers less than $15 an hour, but this proposal now looks to have been abandoned.

Our live will also bring you updates and information on tax season and other relief measures such as the expanded child tax credit, which would give eligible parents payments of up to $300 a month.

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