Third stimulus check news summary: 31 March 2021

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COMMENT

Stimulus checks live updates - Wednesday 31 March

Headlines:

- 21 Senate Democrats in favour of recurring fourth stimulus check

-Dollar marks fresh highs on the back of US stimulus optimism

- Consumer spending reaches highest since the start of the pandemic after third stimulus check

- Child Tax Credit rollout delayed by IRS deadline extension

- Biden confirms 90% of US adult population will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine by 19 April (full story)

- New York State issue groundbreaking digital vaccine pass (full story)

- Republicans seek to have $1,400 payments to inmates redirected to victims

- More than half of Americans have used their stimulus check to pay off debt

- Combined wealth of US billionaires increases by $1.3 trillion during pandemic

- You can track your stimulus check using the IRS Get My Payment Tool

- US covid-19 cases/deaths: 30.45 million/552,038 (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)

Related articles:

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

IRS Tax Return: what to do to claim missing stimulus check?

Many people didn't receive their direct payment in either the first or second rounds of stimulus checks, despite being eligible. If you were one of them, don’t despair. When you file your tax return you can claim yours.

How to claim your missing stimulus check

Child Tax Credit will provide boost for majority of families

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York says the city of Buffalo will be one of those most impacted by the new Child Tax Credit with an additional $77 million expected to be sent to Western New York.

"The child tax credit is raised from $2,000 to $3,000 for every child from 6 to 17 and from $2,000 to $3,600 from each child 0-6 years old,” Schumer (D) said. “About 85% of families in this region will be helped, only the very wealthiest will not benefit from this program."

Billionaires see their wealth grow by $1.3 trillion

Progressive thinktank Public Citizen has compared the wealth increase enjoyed by the wealthiest few Americans to the stimulus checks that were sent to around 160 million people, and suggest that the economy is heavily weighted toward the richest. 

Biden has already hinted that he intends to pay for the covid-19 relief spending, much of which is spent on stimulus checks, by raising taxes on the richest. 

Taxes

What states do not allow the $10,200 unemployment tax break?

The American Rescue Plan passed in March gave an extra bit of help to those who were unemployed in 2020 and collected jobless aid. The law waives federal tax on up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation per person received in 2020.  

There are 13 states that haven’t waived taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits, meaning taxpayers will need to pay state taxes on that income. 

Read the full story to find out if you have to pay taxes on unemployment compensation in your state.

Rep. Omar hosts virtual town hall on stimulus spending

Progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar went live on Twitter this evening to talk about what her office has been working on recently, with a particular focus on stimulus spending. The Congresswoman spoke addressed how the recent American Rescue Plan will benefit those in her constituency, and looked forward to the fate of the new proposal that is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. 

Omar is one of a number of House Democrats who supports a fourth stimulus check that would provide recurring monthly payments to eligible Americans. 

SSI stimulus check payments will be sent by 7 April

After waiting weeks to receive the relevant information from the SSI, the IRS announced last week that they would be able to begin processing around 30 million stimulus check payments for Social Security recipients. 

Payments for them and other non-filing Americans will go out the door on 7 April according to the IRS, meaning that direct deposit recipients should begin seeing the $1,400 in their bank accounts in the following few days. 

“Our teams immediately began processing data we received last week for federal benefit recipients. We know how important these payments are, and we are doing everything we can to make these payments as fast as possible to these important individuals,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

Durbin wants recurring stimulus checks

Another influencial Senate Democrat has joined the calls for a fourth 'recurring' stimulus check to be included in the next stimulus package passed by President Biden. Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, who also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, has become the 21st Democratic senator to sign a letter calling for Biden to introduce recurring stimulus payments. 

The group hope that the new proposal can be added to the upcoming Build Back Better package, which is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks as Biden goes on the offensive with a slew of federal programmes. 

Biden delivers his economic vision of the future

President Joe Biden speaking from Pittsburgh laid out his roughly $2 trillion plan to improve US infrastructure and shift to greener energy over the next eight years. The infrastructure spending plan is the first of a two-part proposal to help the nation's economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The President is expected to unveil the second part focusing on the "care economy," including investments in education and child care, in coming weeks.

Here are some key things in Biden's infrastructure proposal, according to the White House: 

- Transportation ($621 billion) 

- Home care services and workforce ($400 billion)

- Manufacturing ($300 billion)

- Digital infrastructure ($100 billion) 

- Housing ($213 billion)

- Schools ($100 billion)

- Workforce development ($100 billion)

A no-child-necessary tax provision that Americans can benefit from 

The American Rescue Plan has a number of expanded tax provisions for 2021. The $1,400 stimulus checks are an advance payment on a refundable tax credit in 2021. Many more families will be able to take advantage of an increased Child Tax Credit for 2021. But another credit that doesn’t get as much attention is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  

The EITC is targeted at low-income and moderate-income individual taxpayers. Although it’s regarded as an effective tool for lifting families out of poverty, many taxpayers have no idea it exists. This year it will be worth a lot more to eligible Americans, with or without kids. 

Read more about the EITC at MoneyWatch. 

Capitol

Who is pushing for recurring stimulus checks?

Even though the IRS has not finished sending all the estimated 160 million direct stimulus payments, there are calls for a new round of stimulus checks. In a letter sent to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, Democratic Senators urged the White House to make stimulus payments recurring and extend unemployment benefits automatically. 

Over 75 congressional Democrats are urging President Biden to include more direct stimulus payments in the Build Back Better plan to be unveiled Wednesday. Who are they and how would the recurring payments work? 

Read the full story here.

How will the new Child Tax Credit help families?

Sen Ed Markey shares this video of his visit at an ABCD Family Centre, an organisation that supports poor families in Boston. The new-look Child Tax Credit provides monthly payments worth up to $300 per child to American families, a move that is expected to cut childhood poverty in half. 

The current provision is just for a single year but there are calls for the change to be made permanent. Markey admits that there is "still more to be done", suggesting that he may be in favour of an extension. 

Support grows for recurring stimulus checks

More Democrats in the Senate are starting to support the notion of a recurring stimulus check that could be paid to recipients on a monthly basis until the end of the pandemic. The matter has been the subject of legislation and letters from House Representatives for months but this is the first sign of real momentum for the proposal in the Senate. 

Scott Santens, an advocate for Unconditional Basic Income, is calling on Americans to contact their senators to encourage them to back the recurring stimulus check. 

What you need to know about the 2021 Child Tax Credit 

The enhanced Child Tax Credit will only be available for the 2021 fiscal year if it isn’t permanently extended. Democrats hope that the popularity of the enhanced tax provision will create the momentum necessary to get that done. However, if the enhancement expires the credit will return to its previous state until 2025, when it will once again be reduced to the level before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Don’t count on a fourth stimulus check 

According to back-of-the-envelope math, the federal government has issued 434 million payments in the past 12 months. That’s roughly $737 billion that went toward buying groceries, paying rent and increasing people’s savings accounts in a turbulent economic time. But as vaccine distribution ramps up and the country reopens, will there be a fourth stimulus check? 

Click here to find out why Eileen Appelbaum, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, doesn’t think they’ll be coming via Money. 

President Joe Biden to hold first Cabinet meeting 

Joe Biden will convene his first Cabinet meeting on Thursday a week after his full Cabinet was confirmed. It will also come a day after he presents his sweeping second legislative proposal after his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. On Wednesday the President will travel to Pittsburgh to launch the first part of his ambitious infrastructure bill.

A fourth stimulus checks would cut poverty in half 

The federal government has already sent three stimulus checks as part of its covid-19 relief effort. They included payments for up to $1,200, $600 and the most recent worth up to $1,400. On Tuesday, congressional Democrats sent a letter urging President Biden to back additional payments. Over 50 Democratic members of the House and 21 Senators that are calling on the White House to include recurring direct payments to struggling Americans for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic induced crisis.

Small businesses get an extension on forgivable loans from stimulus package 

President Joe Biden signed legislation extending the period small businesses have to apply for forgivable loans to help offset costs of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday. The legislation will extend the deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was due to expire Wednesday, to 31 May.  

The Small Business Administration will be given an extra 30 days to process loans, in a bid to address longer wait times after the government began screening applications to prevent fraud more strictly. The Department of Justice has publicly charged 474 defendants with criminal offenses based on fraud schemes connected to the covid-19 pandemic totaling over $569 million in attempted stolen aid. 

Will Americans accept covid-19 vaccine passports 

The next time you attend a wedding or concert, visit a place of worship, eat indoors at a restaurant or even go to work, you may need to show digital proof of vaccination or negative covid-19 test results. Vaccine verification apps could play a key role in helping us get back to normal. But the companies behind them may first need to convince millions of Americans that these apps don't pose significant privacy risks. 

New York announced its first-in-the-nation NYS Excelsior Pass on Friday and the White House is working with private companies to develop a common standard. It is hoped that these “passports” will aid in opening the US economy to let businesses operate safely without risking outbreaks.

Biden will present next spending proposal Wednesday 

Biden is expected to unveil the first part of his $3 trillion generational investment infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The plan is expected to include traditional infrastructure funding for roads, railroads and bridges. However the plan has a more ambitious vision to invest in a low-carbon future through electric cars, advanced batteries and more efficient buildings. Biden is scheduled to speak on his plans around 4:20 EDT.

Where to cash you stimulus EIP card without a fee 

The IRS plans to send out the majority of $1,400 direct stimulus payments via direct deposit. However, if there is a problem with your account or you don't have direct deposit with the IRS, your payment may arrive by paper check or EIP card. 

What is an EIP card? 

The Economic Impact Payment Card (EIP Card) is a prepaid debit card that is used as an alternative to direct deposits and paper checks to distribute some stimulus payments in the previous two rounds under.  

The Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank, will mail out the EIP Cards to eligible recipients. Each mailing will include instructions on how to activate and use the card, or you can visit the EIP card website to activate it and learn more about how to use it if you receive one. 

The EIP Card works just like any other Visa debit card, you’ll need to activate it when you receive it. Then you can use it to make purchases where Visa debit cards are accepted, get cash from in-network ATMs and transfer funds to your personal bank account without a fee. 

The Fiscal Service provides a link below to find out where you can get cash without a fee. The link can also locate free check cashing locations too. 

Airline industry on the runway to recovery?

US airlines and travel industry leaders have been urging the Biden administration to consider introducing a vaccine passport system to give domestic tourism a boost after China announced a similar pilot scheme after a year of staggering losses in the industry.

Many airlines have made swingeing cutbacks during the pandemic and the long-term viability of many carriers has been called into question after passenger numbers plummeted due to travel bans.

Here, industry experts explain how the airlines are reacting to an unprecedented loss of business.

sox

Leisure economy looks to MLB for recovery indicators

The Texas Rangers plan to welcome a capacity crowd of about 40,000 for their Major League Baseball home opener on April 5. In the nation's capital, meanwhile, attendance at the Washington Nationals' first game of the season will be capped at 5,000, roughly 12% of capacity.

In the country's fitful battle for economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, a lot may ride on whether, come September, attendance for America's pastime looks more like the Rangers than the Nats.

With nearly a third of US adults having received at least one dose of a covid-19 vaccine and more states and cities relaxing restrictions that have become a staple of life over the last year, progress toward a full reengagement in public life remains a haphazard affair.

How the MLB regular season unfolds as 30 mostly US-based teams play 2,430 games in stadiums beginning on Thursday, and what that reveals about the public's willingness to gather with cheering, shouting strangers, will serve as one proxy for whether America races or crawls back towards normal life.

Each team is coordinating with local authorities to set attendance rules, with ticket sales typically limited to 30% or less of stadium capacity at the start of the season and seating confined to socially-distanced pods. Spectators will be required to wear masks, and touchless entry and concessions will be in use extensively.

Under those constraints, Opening Day looks to be a sellout, said Noah Garden, MLB's chief revenue officer.

"There are tickets here and there. There are not many left. The demand as you can imagine is very high," with people itching for in-person experiences again, Garden said.

But compared with a typical Opening Day, Thursday will see at most around 146,000 fans in the 15 stadiums hosting games, less than a quarter of the 635,000-seat combined capacity of those venues. In 2019, about 604,000 people attended the first games of the regular season.

The real test is what happens next, with implications for the US job market, the broader economy, and perhaps even the future prospects of American downtowns.

While covid-19 cases are rising again, the country is on pace for roughly two-thirds of US adults to be at least partially inoculated by June 1, giving some hope that, over time, people will be able to safely move around again in close proximity.

The economy depends on it. Of all the fallout from the pandemic, the blow to the leisure and hospitality industry was the most damaging, and its recovery is critical to regaining the roughly nine million jobs still lost due to the health crisis. If baseball, theme parks, concerts and theaters can stage a successful reopening - and if the coronavirus is controlled - it will translate quickly into jobs.

Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images/AFP

Wall Street opens higher on optimism over Biden spending plan

Technology stocks lifted all three major indexes on Wednesday as investors awaited details on US President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure plan, while Wall Street eyed its fourth straight quarterly gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 49.1 points, or 0.15%, to 33116.04 at the open. The S&P 500 rose 8.7 points, or 0.22%, to 3967.25, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 77.2 points, or 0.59%, to 13122.573 at the opening bell.

Biden trip to Pennsylvania "is no accident"

John Fetterman told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhles that President Joe Biden deliberately elected Pennsylvania to unveil his sweeping $2.6 trillion Infrastructure overhaul plan. "If infrastructure is Elvis, Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania is Graceland. The President knows that and we are so excited to welcome him here to our part of the state because Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania helped build this great infrastructure that made us the country that we are today, it is absolutely no accident that he is returning today," he explained.

Biden Infrastructure

Biden's infrastructure plan "would spur millions of blue-collar jobs"

President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan would create millions of jobs and could undo some of the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, economists said, and could particularly benefit lower middle-income workers.

Biden will unveil the first stage of his plan on Wednesday at an event in Pittsburgh. It will include hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to building and repairing roads, bridges, mass transit, schools and other infrastructure, according to details released by the White House earlier on Wednesday.

About 75% of the infrastructure jobs created would go to workers with no more than a high school diploma, while the rest would require an associate's degree or higher, Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) in Washington said in a report.

The report, issued before the White House released the details of the infrastructure plan, analyzed jobs that would be created by a $1.5 trillion investment. CEW estimates the investment would create 8 million jobs for workers with a high school diploma or less and 4.8 million jobs for those with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor's degree.

"What's interesting is that this plan really gives them a chance to create opportunity for people who have a high school degree or less," Nicole Smith, research professor and chief economist at Georgetown's CEW, told Reuters.

The infrastructure plan, which is expected to be contentious in a Congress narrowly controlled by Democrats, could give Biden's party a chance to reverse that trend, economists said. Dean Baker, senior economist for the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), said at least 20% of Republican voters in the 2020 US election are focused on changes in the economy, jobs and wages. "There is a chance this plan can help move a large share of that (group) and protect the Democrats from ... midterm losses if they pull this off and things go reasonable well," Baker said, referring to the 2022 elections.

Many Republicans are wary of Biden's infrastructure plan, especially if it is financed with tax increases. Biden has indicated he will put corporate America on the hook for the tab, which is expected to grow to a combined $4 trillion once he rolls out the second part of his economic plan in April.

Economists also said Biden's infrastructure plan could disproportionately help minorities. CEW estimates the plan could boost employment for Black and Latino workers, who faced greater job losses during the recession triggered by the pandemic. It would also primarily benefit men, who currently hold 90% of infrastructure jobs and are likely to fill a majority of the jobs created, the report said.

Stiglitz backs relief plans to stimulate US economy

Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz feels that President Biden's American Rescue Plan and the proposed Build Back Better program is just what the nations needs to get back its feet. Stiglitz believes that injecting money into the economy and investing in infrastructure could help break the US out of the low-growth, low-inflation environment that has existed for the past 20 years.

"The inequality means people don’t have demand, a lack of demand means we don’t invest, so we’ve been in a very bad, vicious circle and I'm optimistic that this may break us out into a new period of strong growth, which is more egalitarian," he explained in an interview with

Higher unemployment benefits have little effect on employment levels

According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, raising unemployment benefits does not have a negative effect on jobless numbers during economic downturns, as many politicians and analysts had feared. In his working paper, Professor Arindrajit Dube from the University of Massachusetts noted, "While the replacement rates varied markedly across states (because of very different earnings levels of workers), I find that there is no indication that this had a substantial impact on the employment following the expiration of the FPUC, which reduced the replacement rate roughly from 145 to 85 percent. The point estimate is negative (opposite of what is expected from labor supply considerations), and not statistically distinguishable from zero".

Social Security recipients should receive their stimulus check next week

The Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department report that they expect  payments to be issued this weekend to Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return, with the projection that the majority of these payments would be sent electronically or payments to existing Direct Express cards and should be received on the official payment day, Wednesday 7 April.

"IRS employees are working tirelessly to once again deliver Economic Impact Payments to the nation's taxpayers as quickly as possible," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Our teams immediately began processing data we received last week for federal benefit recipients. We know how important these payments are, and we are doing everything we can to make these payments as fast as possible to these important individuals."

Biden set to unveil proposed $2 trillion "American Jobs Plan"

President Biden is in Pittsburgh today where he is expected to give details of his proposed infrastructure plan - an eight-year programme which will address and modernise highways, road and rail links, water systems, broadband internet and supply chain issues.

Biden will emphasise the need to move away from dependency on fossil fuels in order to implement sustainable energy systems and meet his goal of zeroing out power grid emissions by 2035 and economy-wide by 2050.

US NEWS

Unemployment benefits in California: how to track delays with new EDD dashboard

Due to lengthy backlogs of payments, California's Employment Development Department has launched an expanded online dashboard which can be used to find out the status of your benefit claim.

Read more:

 

On a wave of stimulus optimism, U.S. house prices soar

U.S. consumer confidence raced in March to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, supporting views that economic growth will accelerate in the coming months, driven by more fiscal stimulus and an improving public health situation.

"Consumers' renewed optimism boosted their purchasing intentions for homes, autos and several big-ticket items," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. "However, concerns of inflation in the short-term rose, most likely due to rising prices at the pump, and may temper spending intentions in the months ahead."

The rise in house-buying intentions suggests demand for homes could remain strong and continue to drive up prices as supply remains tight. The housing market is being powered by demand for more spacious accommodations for home offices and schooling. It remains strong despite a rise in mortgage rates this year.

IRS warn against email scams

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

More info

EIP

What is a EIP debit card?

The Economic Impact Payment Card (EIP Card) is a prepaid debit card that the US Treasury used as an alternative to direct deposits and paper checks to distribute some stimulus payments in the previous two rounds under the CARES Act and the covid-19 relief bill in December. The Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank, will mail out the EIP Cards to eligible recipients. Each mailing will include instructions on how to activate and use the card, or you can visit the EIP card website to activate it and learn more about how to use it if you receive one.

The EIP Card works just like any other Visa debit card, you’ll need to activate it when you receive it. Then you can use it to make purchases where Visa debit cards are accepted, get cash from in-network ATMs and transfer funds to your personal bank account without a fee.

IRS

When will the payments go out for federal beneficiaries?

On Tuesday, in a press release, the IRS said that $1,400 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) or stimulus checks, would begin to be sent out payments at the end of the week. They expect the majority of Social Security recipients and other federal beneficiaries who do not normally file a tax return would receive their payments electronically 7 April.

Veterans may have to wait even longer though. In the statement the tax agency said it is still reviewing the data received from the VA. However, the IRS expects to determine a payment date soon with details following. The preliminary date for EIP payments to VA beneficiaries who do not regularly file tax returns is mid-April according to the IRS.

Amazon

Increased taxes at heart of payment plan for Biden infrastructure push

President Biden will later present a new US infrastructure proposal which includes $2.3 trillion in investments aimed at everything from fixing 10,000 bridges to tearing lead pipes of out millions of homes in the United States.

The plan is expected to be funded by an increase in taxes for major corporate earners and would make multiple changes to U.S. tax rules, to put the cost of the plan entirely on companies.

These include raising the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28% from the 21% levy set by the Trump administration's 2017 tax bill, eliminating all fossil fuel industry subsidies and loopholes, and establishing a minimum tax on income companies use to report profits to investors.

The reforms will add 0.5% to U.S. GDP per year in corporate revenue, which the White House says will fully pay for investments within the next 15 years, and reduce the government deficit after that.

Economic outlook for the US as seen by the WSJ

Stimulus checks and other government measures kept many borrowers from bankruptcy last year despite high unemployment, but economists worry it won’t last.

Full WSJ article here

Electric cars

Renewable power at heart of new Biden infrastructure proposal

President Joe Biden's vast infrastructure plan includes $174 billion to boost the markets for electric vehicles and billions more for renewable power - both provisions aimed at weaning the U.S. off of fossil fuels and combating climate change.

The $2 trillion plan, which also seeks to invest in traditional projects like roads and bridges, is a centerpiece of the administration's ambitious agenda to decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050 and restore the nation's leadership in addressing global warming.

It also vows to spend $165 billion on public transit, Amtrak and other rail projects - moves that could shift more Americans out of private cars and onto trains and transit systems. The plan still must be approved by Congress.

shopping

Fourth stimulus check: lawmakers support another payment

Congressional lawmakers are pushing for recurring direct payments until the pandemic ends. Democrats would have to wait until October to pass a fourth stimulus check.

This talk however of another payment does seem somewhat premature for any imminent fourth payment. Democrats were able to pass the third stimulus check without Republican support by using a mechanism called 'budget reconciliation'. This requires a simple majority in the Senate - something the Georgia run-off elections helped with - but this process can only be executed once per fiscal year, meaning that Democrats would have to wait until after 1 October to use it again.

App

How to track your stimulus payment?

The easiest way to check your payment and when it is due to arrive is by using the IRS Get My Payment tool where you can track your payment. The tool will let you know how and when you will receive your payment. The IRS will continue to issue the EIP stimulus payments throughout 2021. The IRS only updates the Get My Payment tool information once per day, typically during a two-hour period overnight, so refreshing throughout the day won’t give you any new information.

Stimulus payments maty arrive as paper cheques or pre-paid cards

While the majority of payments being issued via the IRS are being delivered by direct deposit, a high volume of cheques (roughly 150,000) have been issued via US Mail.

US NEWS

When 90% of US adult population will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine, according to Biden

When 90% of US adult population will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccine, according to Biden

President Joe Biden has announced that increasing Covid-19 vaccine supplies has enabled his administration to bring forward the timeline by almost two weeks.

 

housing

US consumer confidence hits one-year high; house prices soar

US consumer confidence raced in March to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, supporting views that economic growth will accelerate in the coming months, driven by more fiscal stimulus and an improving public health situation.

The survey from the Conference Board also showed consumers were fairly upbeat about the labor market, with a measure of household employment rebounding after declining in February. Restrictions on non-essential businesses are being rolled back as more Americans get vaccinated against covid-19.

That, along with the White House's massive $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, has led economists to predict the economy will this year experience it best performance in nearly four decades. The survey showed more consumers intended to buy homes, cars and household appliances over the next six months.

"Consumers finally are fully on board with the pending expansion," said Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Virginia. "What remains to be seen is how quickly services industries such as travel and leisure will open up, allowing venues for consumers to release their pent-up demand."

Biden

Biden infrastructure plan (cont.)

$400 BILLION FOR THE 'CARE ECONOMY'

One in six essential care workers live in poverty, the White House said.

The plan will fund home or community-based care for hundreds of thousands of senior citizens and people with disabilities, creating "well-paying caregiving jobs with benefits."

$580 BILLION FOR MANUFACTURING, TRAINING, RESEARCH

The figure includes a $50 billion investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing, $180 billion in research and development with a focus on clean energy, and unspecified amounts as incentives for companies to create new jobs in coal communities and grow the U.S. supply chain.

RAISE CORPORATE TAXES TO FOOT THE BILL

The plan would make multiple changes to U.S. tax rules, to put the cost of the plan entirely on companies.

These include raising the U.S. corporate tax rate to 28% from the 21% levy set by the Trump administration's 2017 tax bill, eliminating all fossil fuel industry subsidies and loopholes, and establishing a minimum tax on income companies use to report profits to investors.

The reforms will add 0.5% to U.S. GDP per year in corporate revenue, which the White House says will fully pay for investments within the next 15 years, and reduce the government deficit after that.

Biden

What's in Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan?

The infrastructure plan U.S. President Joe Biden will roll out in Pittsburgh on Wednesday includes $2.3 trillion in investments aimed at everything from fixing 10,000 bridges to tearing lead pipes of out millions of homes in the United States.

$650 BILLION FOR ROADS, RAIL, TRANSPORT

The plan would modernize 20,000 miles of highways and roads, the top 10 "economically significant bridges" and 10,000 other bridges.

It includes $20 billion for road safety programs to reduce fatalities for cyclists and pedestrians, and $20 billion to reconnect neighborhoods divided by highway projects. It would double federal funding for public transit with a $85 billion investment and invest $80 billion in Amtrak.

The plan includes $25 billion for airports, $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports and ferries, and investments in cleaning port air pollution.

There's another $25 billion for "ambitious" transportation projects "too large for current funding programs."

And, in a boost to electronic vehicle makers, a $174 billion investment to "win the EV market" by spurring domestic supply chains and giving consumers rebates to buy them.

$650 BILLION FOR 'HOME INFRASTRUCTURE'

These funds would go to broadband, clean water, the electric grid, and high-quality housing.

Among other things, it would replace 100% of the water-bearing lead pipes and service lines across the country, which the White House says serve as many as 10 million families.

It also proposes broadband access for some 35% of rural Americans who don't have the service, building or retrofitting two million housing units, and veterans hospitals.

There's $100 billion to "upgrade and build new public schools, through $50 billion in direct grants and an additional $50 billion leveraged through bonds."

The proposal includes capping and sealing oil and gas wells and abandoned mines, the which the White House says will create "hundreds of thousands" of jobs in area where oil and mining employment has dried up.

biden

26 million Americans eligible for latest stimulus round

US President Biden had initially hoped to widen the eligibility requirements for the first major stimulus bill of his presidency and his proposal added another large group to the list of recipients.

For the first time adult dependents were able to get a stimulus check, a group that comprised millions of adult dependents, elderly relatives and disabled Americans. The it is thought that around 26 million people who are claimed as adult dependents on someone else’s tax returns will get the direct support for the first time, although the extra money will be added to the filer’s stimulus check entitlement.

IRS filing date extension confirmed

The original date for filing your taxes was 15 April 2021 but the deadline has been extended to 17 May in order to "help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic."

Once this change to the date was announced, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig issued a statement:

"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities.

"Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to."

What are the chances of a fourth stimulus check?

Plans for a fourth stimulus check are gaining support from Congress. A number of Democrats continue to push for a fourth check which would include recurring payments until the pandemic has waned. Newsweek report that 64 lawmakers are urging for a fourth stimulus check with recurring checks to follow. Earlier this month, 11 Senators, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, called for Joe Biden to extend unemployment compensation indefinitely on top of another round of checks.

Still awaiting stimulus money? Here's how to uncover the status of your check

 

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

$3,600 child tax credit: how often will it be paid? Monthly?

$3,600 child tax credit: how often will it be paid?

The American Rescue Plan calls for the 2021 Child Tax Credit to be paid out monthly starting in July, however the IRS has warned that might not be possible.

US NEWS

New York digital vaccine pass: who can get it and how?

New York digital vaccine pass: who can get it and how?

New York State and IBM are the first out of the gate in the US with a covid-19 vaccination and negative test result passport app. Here’s how to can get it.

China

United States and China powering a "multi-speed recovery" from the crisis

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the United States and China were powering a "multi-speed recovery" from the crisis, with advanced economies facing an 11% cumulative loss in per capita income, relative to pre-crisis projections, while emerging and developing economies, excluding China, would see a 20% drop.

The IMF had provided over $107 billion in new financing to 85 countries and debt service relief for 29 of its poorest members. In sub-Saharan Africa, the IMF's financing surged to 13 times its average annual level in the previous decade, she said.

But low-income countries needed more help, she said, citing new estimates that they would need $200 billion over five years to fight the pandemic and $250 billion to return to the path of catching up to higher income levels.

Georgieva said support was building for a possible $650 billion expansion of the IMF's Special Drawing Rights, which would help all members but especially the most vulnerable, by boosting reserves without adding to their debt burdens.

Extraordinary measures undertaken by countries and more resilient banking systems had clearly helped avert a far worse global contraction and another global financial crisis, but the outlook remained highly uncertain, Georgieva said.

IMF to boost global outlook again, warns financial conditions uncertain

The International Monetary Fund will raise its forecast for global economic growth in 2021 and 2022 after last year's 3.5% contraction, but financial conditions remain highly uncertain, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stated.

Georgieva said the global economy was on firmer footing after governments spent some $16 trillion on fiscal measures to contain the pandemic and mitigate its economic impact. However, developments are diverging dangerously across regions and countries, and even within nations.

"Vaccines are not yet available to everyone and everywhere. Too many people continue to face job losses and rising poverty," she told the Council on Foreign Relations ahead of next week's release of the fund's updated World Economic Outlook. "Too many countries are falling behind."

Biden

American Rescue Plan is sowing signs of hope for US economy

US President Joe Biden has affirmed that the economic outlook is brightening thanks to the recent passage of his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package, and a majority of economists now expect growth this year to exceed six percent.

"Since we passed the American Rescue Plan, we're starting to see new signs of hope in our economy," Biden said during his first press conference since taking office in January. "Since it was passed, a majority ... of economic forecasters have significantly increased their projections on the economic growth that's going to take place this year. They're now projecting it will exceed 6% growth in GDP (gross domestic product)."

Indeed, that may understate how quickly the economy may grow this year as vaccine rollouts gather pace, allowing greater freedom of movement and activity, and as the stimulus bill boosts consumer spending.

Biden

Joe Biden to explain funding of $3 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday -White House

President Joe Biden will outline how he would pay for his $3 trillion to $4 trillion plan to tackle America's infrastructure needs later today, the White House confirmed on Monday, a proposal likely to include tax increases first laid out on the campaign trail.

Biden will lay out the plan, which is aimed at rebuilding roads and bridges as well as tackling climate change and domestic policy issues like income equality, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"The president has a plan to fix the infrastructure of our country ... and he has a plan to pay for it," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Dollar

Dollar hits fresh highs on US recovery

The dollar hit a fresh one-year high versus the yen and multi-month peaks with other rivals on Wednesday as investors bet that massive fiscal stimulus and aggressive vaccinations will help the United States lead a global pandemic recovery.

President Joe Biden is set to outline later on Wednesday how he intends to pay for a $3-$4 trillion infrastructure plan, after earlier this week saying 90% of adult Americans would be eligible for vaccination by April 19.

The dollar index rose as far as 93.439, the highest in almost five months. It has climbed from close to 90 at the start of March, on course for its best month since 2016.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: when will the IRS send them to Social Security recipients in April?

Third stimulus check: when will the IRS send them to Social Security recipients in April?

After an initial delay in sending $1,400 stimulus payments to federal beneficiaries the IRS projects that the funds will start to arrive by 7 April.

CORONAVIRUS STIMLUS CHECKS

How many stimulus checks have been there until now and when were they paid?

How many stimulus checks have been there until now and when were they paid?

The American Rescue Plan Act will provide 160 million Americans with a stimulus check of up to $1,400. We look at the three rounds of aid since the pandemic started.

Stimulus check live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome as we begin our daily live blog on Wednesday 31 March providing you with updates on the third round of stimulus checks, which is being sent out as part of Joe Biden's $1.9tn American Rescue Plan coronavirus relief package.

We'll also be bringing you updates on a possible fourth stimulus check, and information on other economic-aid measures in Biden's bill, such as an enhanced child tax credit and supplemented unemployment benefits.

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