Fourth stimulus check news summary: Sunday 2 May 2021
US Stimulus checks live updates | May 2
- Around 163 million third stimulus checks now sent out, at a total value of around $384bn
- Over 730,000 'plus-up' stimulus checks distributed as part of latest IRS payment run
- American Families Plan proposes extension of expanded Child Tax Credit through 2025 (full details)
- Biden makes no mention of fourth stimulus check in speech to Congress (full story)
- Golden State Stimulus payments going out in California (when will mine arrive?)
- Stimulus checks boost consumer spending in US
- Change.org petition for recurring stimulus checks surpasses 2 million signatures
- Track your third stimulus check with IRS' Get My Payment tool
- Follow all the latest US vaccine news (live blog)
- US covid-19: 32.42 million cases / 577,045 deaths (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)
Take a look at some of our related articles:
Taxpayers need to have filed their 2020 state tax return to receive a Golden State Stimulus check - and the information you included in your return determines whether you’ll receive your payment via direct deposit or through the mail by paper check.
Every AS English stimulus checks article
In our dedicated stimulus checks section, you can get up-to-date information on the third round of stimulus checks, as well as news on the possibility of Congress approving a fourth direct payment. You'll also find info on the Golden State Stimulus payments currently being sent out in California.
To get your Golden State Stimulus payment, you need to have filed your 2020 state tax return. When the California Franchise Tax Board then sends you your check depends on when you submit your return.
The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit that is targeted at low- and moderate-income workers. It reduces the amount of taxes filers owe, or can even be collected as a refund.
The American Rescue Plan gave the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers a boost for 2021 tax filings in 2022, but they need to file to claim it.
Tax deadline extended for Kentucky
Victims of severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that began February 27, 2021 now have until June 30, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.
Following the recent disaster declaration issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced that affected taxpayers in certain areas will receive tax relief.
American optimism hits 15 year high
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday found that after 100 days of President Biden being in office that the American public is generally cheery about the future. The poll found that 64 percent of Americans like the way things are heading in the country, which hasn’t reported such a high figure since December of 2006 when 61 percent felt rosy about the future.
However, the poll also showed that not all is roses. Support for Biden’s proposed spending and tax hikes falls mainly along party lines. There is a slight majority overall that back the government spending to boost the economy. Also, less than a quarter feel that the country is less divided after Biden’s first 100 days.
Bernie Sanders makes McConnell feel the burn in Kentucky
Bernie Sanders attended the “Rally for Kentucky’s Working Class” Sunday outside the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. He was there with former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, who is considering another run for the US Senate after losing to Mitch McConnell last year. This time Booker would take on Republican incumbent Senator Rand Paul in 2022.
Senator Sanders took the opportunity to point out the GOP resistance to the Democratic agenda led by the Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
During President Biden’s first joint address to Congress this week, he outlined the next set of legislative proposals he has sent to lawmakers. Two proposals, in particular, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, include changes to the US tax code that could impact millions of families in the United States.
The US needs to update its electrical grid for clean energy production
One portion of the American Jobs Plan calls for an investment of $100 billion to bring the US electrical grid into the 21st century. It will require building thousands of miles of transmission lines and creating a more interconnected system to handle the challenges of storing and transporting renewable energy.
CNBC walks through what it will take to make this smarter grid a reality.
A look at Biden's American Family Plan
WSJ - President Joe Biden campaigned on free college, larger Pell Grants and expanded aid for schools that serve Black and other minority students — and now, he’s acting to turn those promises into reality.
Biden formally announced his American Families Plan on 28 April. While the plan includes several policies intended to aid those in the workplace, including paid family leave and universal preschool, it also includes provisions that could reshape the American higher education system.
What’s the argument for a fourth stimulus check?
There is a fairly concerted push for a fourth stimulus check to at least be considered at the moment, even as the IRS is still paying out the third round (it’s sent out some 163 million checks so far). What’s behind the calls for another round of stimulus payments? Poverty, bluntly. Millions of Americans are in financial distress right now, some or much of it caused directly or indirectly by the covid-19 pandemic. The Kaiser Family Foundation found (in a poll in February) that 1 in 3 Americans are struggling to meet basic living expenses. And for many of these people, no matter how thriftily they budget their use of the check, $1,400 just doesn't go that far.
Lawmakers pushing for a fourth stimulus check (21 Dem senators sent a letter back at the end of March to Biden in support of recurring payments) are concerned at the fact that nearly 6 out of 10 Americans reckon the $1,400 stimulus payment would last them less than three months.
Some of the coverage of the stimulus payments though has ignored the reality of what the stimulus checks mean to people struggling to pay for food and housing during a pandemic (looking very directly at this article talking about Fun Ways to Spend Your Stimulus check, and recommending $560 Pajamas). While it’s true that stimulating spending was part of the idea of the payments, pushing the idea that stimulus checks are being splashed on luxury goods is far from the reality faced by many Americans.
Because the truth is that most individuals who aren’t spending stimulus checks on the basics are paying off debt or credit cards or putting the money into savings, indicative of people using the cash to reduce debt they were forced to build up due to the pandemic or saving for another emergency.
Overall, the push for a fourth stimulus is there because there are a large number of people across America who are in bad shape financially due to the pandemic, and direct payments have been shown to help, as well as drive economic activity.
Right now, although there is pressure from social groups and a number of Dem lawmakers, its seems the White House has turned its attention to it’s infrastructure plan and is not focusing much attention on arguments for a fourht stimulus check. While that is distressing for some, the hope is very much that as vaccination rates rise and the economy fully opens up in the euphoria of the end of the pandemic, the financial situation of many people will be on the up, without the need for another round of stimulus checks.
The American Rescue Plan authorized a third round of stimulus checks for up to $1,400 and the IRS has now sent out around 163 million stimulus payments to eligible Americans.
As the agency processes 2020 tax returns it will continue to send out payments weekly until the end of the year when payments are scheduled to stop.
If you never received the $1,200 or $600 stimulus checks and were eligible, the IRS urges you to file a 2020 tax return to claim the missing money. Likewise, if you think you didn’t get the right amount the only way the agency can correct it is to have the most current information on your economic and family situation, but time is running out.
Student debt reached $1.56 trillion in 2020. Just over half of student debt is held by people under thirty-nine, and people between eighteen and twenty-nine owe nearly a quarter.
Biden has made statements publicly supporting the cancellation of up to $10,000 in student debt through executive action… when could it happen?
On the eve of his 100th day in office President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress. The key announcement from the evening’s speech was a first real look at the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion package to strengthen the American family.
It is the third part of Biden’s three-pronged Build Back Better plan, but there was one notable omission: stimulus checks.
The California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) is currently in the process of distributing a round of state-wide stimulus checks to low-income residents as part of the Golden State Stimulus bill.
IRS sent letter with each stimulus payment
The IRS is required to send a notice after each of the three Stimulus payments it paid out to taxpayers. The letters were sent to each recipient's last known address.
The information letter informed each taxpayer about the amount, method of payment and how to contact the agency in case the payment wasn't received.
If you are missing the letters the only way to check this information is to create an online account with the IRS where you can check information about the payments that you received.
Wealthy rush to prepare for possible Biden tax hikes
NYT - President Biden this week proposed significant increases in taxes on the wealthy. And while the details are likely to change as the legislation makes its way through Congress, wealthy Americans were scrambling to lock in tax savings before they even knew what the proposal was.
The proposed higher taxes on income and capital gains — which would nearly double for the highest earners — were expected. But the American Families Plan, as the White House calls it, was silent on an anticipated increase in estate and gift taxes. Instead, it included a provision requiring heirs to pay capital gains taxes on assets above a certain amount that they inherit.
Advisers to the wealthy say they have been flooded with requests to make plans for what any eventual tax changes will be.
Progressive Democrats want to make the enhanced Child Tax Credit premanent
Monthly payments of a new child tax care credit provided under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law will start hitting bank accounts in July. Eligible families have the potential to receive up to $3,600 per child in the form of $300 monthly installments on top of the $1,400 stimulus checks that have already been doled out to millions of Americans still struggling amid the covid-19 pandemic.
The credit was only approved for the 2021 fiscal year only, but should the White House’s American Families Plan get through Congress it would be extended another four years until 2025. It will have to be seen if progressive follow Biden’s lead or if they push to make the enhanced Child Tax Credit permanent as the bill takes shape.
Hillary Clinton says Biden has less “constrained” to push stimulus policies
In an interview aired on Sunday with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave her assessment of President Biden’s first 100 days. Due to the pandemic Clinton feels that more people are aware that “there's lots of times when we need the government.”
In contrast to Biden’s Democratic predecessors, he has more freedom of movement when it comes to pushing his progressive policies due to the prior administration. However she thinks that the administration would have to make "a very clear political calculation" at some point if an agreement could not be reached.
Senate GOP lawmakers willing to negotiate with Biden on infrastructure
GOP senators have presented President Joe Biden with a counter offer to the White House proposal. However there is a gapping difference in size between the two plans, Biden wants to spend $2 trillion while the Republican plan is closer to $600 billion.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday "Now that the Republicans have put forth a reasonable offer, it's up to the President to do a counteroffer to us." Adding that this will be "a test on whether President Biden is truly interested in bipartisanship. If he is, we could get there on the core infrastructure package. And by that, I mean roads, bridges, highways, rails, waterways, and of course broadband."
Is it ethical to keep a stimulus check sent by mistake?
The third stimulus check is an advance tax credit on your 2021 taxes, and calculated based on your 2020 taxes OR your 2019 taxes if your 2020 were unavailable at the time the check was sent. There is no claw-back provision for the third stimulus payment if the 2019 filing was made in good faith. However, a taxpayer who received two separate $1,400 stimulus cannot keep both.
There are some people that, believe it or not, want to return their $1,400 stimulus checks and others who got one by mistake and are required to return it.
Monthly stimulus checks
A petition started last year calling for $2,000 stimulus checks and "continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis" has reached two million signatures on change.org.
The petition was started by Stepahnie Bonin, a restaurant owner from Colorado, who said in the absence of stimulus payments: "laid-off workers, furloughed workers, the self-employed, and workers dealing with reduced hours will struggle to pay their rent or put food on the table."
The petition was updated with the arrival of Joe Biden into the White House to say: "We're out of work and out of cash" and that the "best thing our government can do right now is send emergency money to the people on a monthly basis."
Bonin at the end of the update asks people to "Sign to join our movement to get recurring checks to the people".
This story is doing the rounds in the media at the moment, and two million signatures is clearly a lot of people, but whether it's really having an impact on the debate is harder to show. Change.org campaigns have always suffered from the problem that actually signing a campaign is so easy, that it's easy to dismiss them with doubts over whether the people signing really care that much, when all they've done is a click something on the internet.
The other debate is over whether Change.org campaigns can really make a difference. There's evidence they can, and here are some campaigns that did, but in general they have the most impact when they raise visibility of a topic that wasn't being much discussed in the mainstream media before the campaign The media talking about the number of signatures on Change.org itself is what then raises awareness.
That's not going to be the case here, the discussion over recurring stimulus checks is already fully under discussion, in the media, among politicians and across society generally, so people signing a campaign to support it is unlikely to move the needle that much on the coverage of it. Though, we've written this post because the campaign reached two million signatures, so...
Tax billionaires to fund further stimulus checks?
The wealth of some of the richest people in the US has soared during the pandemic - a year ago there was only one American, Jeff Bezos, who had a net worth over $100 billion, while today there are six, and the Amazon founder's worth has soared to nearly $200 billion.
All of which has led to a lot of people calling for these gains to be taxed, with the money being put to the benefit of all of society. Newsweek has an article outlining how the tax could be used to fund further stimulus checks.
The article does note that although some politicians (e.g. Bernie Sanders) have called for a tax on the gains made by the super wealthy during the pandemic, in general there seems to be little political will to do so.
There is also a technical tax issue with taxing these gains - in most cases they aren't 'realised' gains. Bezos' wealth has soared because the value of his shares in Amazon has soared - he doesn't actually have any more cash in the bank with which he could pay a hypothetical tax.
Of course wealth taxes can be applied to his increased paper wealth, which would force him to come up with the money (possibly by selling his shares) but in general modern tax systems have shied away from wealth taxes - because it can be hard for the people being taxed to actually raise the cash to pay them - in favour of taxing gains when they are realised i.e. when he sells his shares in Amazon of his own volition.
While it might seem fair enough to look to get tax out of someone whose wealth has soared to such an extent, the problem is how that rule might be applied to all of society - holders of small amounts of shares would likely be outraged if they were forced to pay tax on a rise in the value of shares they hold even though they hadn't sold them. Rules could be made to only apply it to certain amounts or certain types of shares, but that introduces complexity into the tax system, something that is general tax policy makers would prefer to avoid. Overall, don't expect politicians to attempt to write laws to tax paper gains made by a group of ridiculously wealthy billionaires any time soon, even if that might feel fair to many.
Will there be a fourth stimulus check?
On Wednesday evening President Joe Biden gave his first official address to a joint session of Congress in which he outlined some key areas of focus for his presidency.
He struck a very different tone to his predecessor and called for a considerable expansion of the state-funded safety net and a marked improvement in education. His ‘big government’ agenda saw trillions worth of additional spending mooted.
“America is moving. Moving forward. And we can’t stop now,” he told the roughly 200 lawmakers in attendance. “We’re in a great inflection point in history. We have to do more than just build back. We have to build back better.”
Biden promised to provide the support needed for those who “feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s rapidly changing.” However he stopped short of announcing a fourth round of stimulus checks, despite calls from within his own Party to do so.
Last month a group of 21 Senate Democrats signed a letter urging the White House to consider including another round of direct payments in the upcoming Build Back Better legislation. On Wednesday evening Biden gave the first full details on his proposals, but there was no mention of a fourth stimulus check.
Some small businesses still struggling to attract workers
North Carolina Congressman David Rouzer highlighted the difficulties which some small companies in the US are facing when trying to hire workers - some of whom might not be seeking employment while they have their stimulus check to spend.
Yellen plays down inflation fears over Biden Rescue plan
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tamped down concerns that President Joe Biden's plans for infrastructure, jobs and families will cause inflation, saying the spending will be phased in over a decade. "It's spread out quite evenly over eight to 10 years," Yellen, former Federal Reserve chair, said in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press. She said the Federal Reserve will monitor inflation carefully and has the tools to address it if necessary. "I don't believe that inflation will be an issue but if it becomes an issue, we have tools to address it. These are historic investments that we need to make our economy productive and fair."
Biden's plans are paid for by a series of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, less than 1% of the population, and on raising corporate taxes. Some Democrats have expressed concerns that the tax increases would slow economic growth. Yellen would not speculate on whether Biden would accept a bill from Congress that does not include a way to pay for the spending increases in his plans. "He has made clear that he believes that permanent increase in spending should be paid for and I agree," she said.
The IRS has been given until the end of December to send all the payments in the third round of stimulus checks. The agency has already sent out 163 million payments so far, including “plus-up” payments to top up amounts paid to people who were eligible for a larger stimulus check than the one received. At the current pace the IRS looks set to finish the job ahead of schedule.
Undocumented workers deserve stimulus checks
According to a study by Pew Research Center, in 2017 there were approximately 10.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, about 7.6 million of whom were in the workforce. Out of those 7.6 million undocumented working immigrants, around 69% held jobs that are deemed essential. None of these essential workers were eligible to receive any aid from the three stimulus packages due to their legal status in the United States, writes Alison Tishman for Westworld.com. If the intention of the stimulus package is to help workers who are suffering economically from the pandemic, we must correct this negligence.
"Asking if tax increases will hurt the economy is not the right question" - Yellen
In an email to CNN, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen explained why she feels there are wider problems facing the US population that raising taxes, which President Biden is planning to do as part of his $2 trillion American Rescue Plan.
"The greatest threat to our economic recovery - and our long-term economic prospects - is not a marginally higher tax rate for large corporations or the top 1% of taxpayers. It's a lack of support for America's workers and families. Asking 'will these tax increases hurt the economy?' is not the right question. The right question is: 'Is trading higher taxes on high-income taxpayers for middle-class tax cuts and major economic investments pro-growth?' And the answer to that question is a resounding yes," Yellen wrote.
"Americans want to see us get Rescue Plan done" - Buttigieg
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is confident that Republicans can be swayed to support President Joe Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure bill - in spite of opposition from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said that he will fight it "every step of the way."
Buttigieg told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week programme, "I'm having a lot of conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate, who have been wanting to do something big on infrastructure for years. We may not agree about every piece of it, but this is one area where the American people absolutely want to see us get it done. In my view, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I don't think in the next 50 years, we're going to see another time when we have this combination of a demonstrated need, bipartisan interest, widespread impatience and a very supportive president who is committed".
Biden's big plans for American infrastructure overhaul
President Joe Biden pitched his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which would allocate $80 billion for the rail service at Amtrack this weekend. "It's going to provide jobs," he explained. "It will also accommodate jobs. And what this means is that towns and cities that have been in danger of being left out and left behind will be back in the game. It means families don't have to sacrifice the cost of living or quality of access to opportunity that sometimes only occurs if they live in a big city."
After President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion relief bill into law, stimulus checks of up to $1,400 began arriving in Americans' bank accounts the following week. For those receiving it through direct deposit they saw the payments identifying reference as "IRS TREAS 310 - TAX EIP3".
Biden is pushing for a sweeping change of the American social safety net with $1.8 trillion investment in American families, including more monthly direct payments for parents through 2025.
Wall Street remains bullish despite Biden tax plan
NPR - President Biden wants to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy investors. His top market regulator has promised a tougher approach. And leading Democrats who control Congress are proud adversaries of moguls and money managers.
So, how has the stock market responded?
With a rally that has sent the S&P 500 to an 11% surge in Biden's first 100 days, the best performance by the various versions of the index since Franklin Delano Roosevelt started his first term in 1933, according to an NPR analysis of S&P data.
"The stock market is on fire," says Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments. "It has astonished veteran observers, and it may have a ways to go."
Petition for recurring $2,000 stimulus checks surpasses 2 million
(Newsweek) An online petition calling for Congress to deliver monthly stimulus checks of $2,000 until the end of the pandemic has now surpassed 2 million signatures, with the goal of hitting 3 million.
The Change.org petition, created by Stephanie Bonin, a restaurant owner in Denver, is addressed to the US House of Representatives and Senate. It asks the two legislative bodies of Congress to pass a bill that allocates monthly recurring "$2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payment for kids" for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We need immediate checks and recurring payments so that we can keep our heads above water," the petition read. "Congress needs to make sure that we won't be financially ruined for doing our part to keep the country healthy."
If you want to cash your stimulus check you can do so at banks even where you are not an account holder or member, but you will need to bring ID.
IRS wants everyone to benefit from stimulus programs
People who didn't file a 2019 tax return and don't file a 2020 tax return will miss out on their $1,400 stimulus check and any money due to them from the previous two stimulus checks if they didn't receive those either. Not to mention the raft of tax credits that will be made available to parents and childless low-income workers.
With the IRS' Free File, anyone who earns less than $72,000 can do their taxes for free online.
California's Franchise Tax Board is distributing stimulus checks of $600 or $1,200 to eligible residents of the state.
On Wednesday President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress. The key announcement from the evening’s speech was a first real look at the American Families Plan, the spending package that Biden hopes will provide a much-needed support network for working families. The $1.8 trillion package is the third part of Biden’s three-pronged Build Back Better plan, but there was one notable omission: stimulus checks.
Paid family leave included in American Families Plan
The US is an outlier among developed nations when it comes to paid family leave. At least 183 countries allow a working mother to take paid time off to be with a newborn or young child. Fathers also receive paid leave in at least 79 countries. However, in the US there is a patchwork of state and company policies. President Biden has called for permanent paid leave to be part of his American Families Plan.
US stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live stimulus-checks blog for Sunday 2 May, as we bring you the latest updates on the third round of stimulus checks - including 'plus-up' payments - and news on a potential fourth direct payment.
We'll also have information on the expanded Child Tax Credit and enhanced unemployment benefits, as well as the Golden State Stimulus payments being distributed in California.