Fourth stimulus check news summary: 4 May 2021
US stimulus checks live updates | 4 May
- IRS has distributed over 163 million stimulus checks in third round of payments, worth a total of $384 billion. Who is still waiting?
-Two representatives introduce a bill to create a new tax credit for first-time homebuyers (read here)
- Biden on American Families Plan promotional tour, seeks bipartisan support
- White House asks Congress to raise national minimum wage to $15 an hour
- Weekly stimulus-check payment runs include so-called 'plus-up' payments (more info)
- Biden backs extension of expanded Child Tax Credit through 2025 (full details)
- Fourth stimulus check not included in president's Congressional address (full story)
- Over two million people sign Change.org petition calling for recurring stimulus checks
- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' Get My Payment tool
- US covid-19: 32.47 million cases / 577,571 deaths (live updates from Johns Hopkins University)
Check out some of our related articles:
CNN analysis explains how the Republicans could overturn the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives next year, placing the legislative agenda of the Biden administration at risk.
Petition for monthly stimulus checks passes two million signatures
The idea has received the backing of some senior Democratic lawmakers but given a lack of concrete backing by the White House for a fourth stimulus check the probability of a recurring $2,000 monthly payment seems unlikely to bear fruit. Still, a petition is doing the rounds and has reached over two million signatures to date.
Elizabeth Warren tweeted out her support for canceling student debt today saying:
Canceling $50,000 of student loan debt—and ensuring free technical schools and free two- and four-year public college—will be transformational for working families. It will make the promise of opportunity a whole lot more real.
This comes after the Senator hosted a hearing on the subject last week. Read our coverage here.
President Biden at Tide Water Community College in Virginia, speaking about the American Families Plan and how it could help more people in the US attend college. The American Families Plan would make community college free to most families in the US.
Those receiving unemployment benefits can breathe a little easier knowing that until 6 September, they will receive $300 on top of their weekly benefit. If a recipient claims all eligible weeks of the enhanced benefit, their total income will increase by around $7,500. This additional income has been described as critical to keeping US households afloat as millions scramble to find work.
Read the full story here.
In an effort to move the economic recovery of his state forward, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of bills and executive orders into law yesterday.
The first was a bill passed by the Flordia legislature, placed a state-wide ban on vaccine passports, weakened the ability of local jurisdictions to establish lockdowns, and allocated funding to prepare for future pandemics.
Additionally, Gov. DeSantis signed two Executive Orders, which suspend all “local all local emergency orders until July 1, 2021, at which point local orders will be permanently invalidated.”
Read the full story and response from local officials here.
A new poll from Data for Progres shows sweeping support for the American Families Plan, including 64% of independent voters.
Individuals and families experiencing homelessness in the US may still be eligible to receive stimulus check payments if they are able to submit a tax return. The IRS has staff ready to assist these vulnerable members of our communities. Spread the word.
Do you manage or know of an organization that could support people in filing their taxes? Check out the information provided by The Get It Back Campaign. The Get it Back Campaign "helps eligible workers claim tax credits and use free tax filing assistance to maximize tax time. A project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Campaign partners with community organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions to conduct outreach nationally."
The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed into law in March allocated around $400 billion for a third stimulus check. The IRS began sending these direct payments worth $1,400 for heads of household and for each of their dependents in March.
As of 28 April, the US tax authority has sent approximately 96%, or $384 billion worth of payments through direct deposit, paper checks, and pre-paid visa debit cards. The IRS has sent six batches of payments which have varied in size and scope as time has gone on. Over half of the payments were sent in the first batch which included more than 90 million checks. The most recent batch included just over 2 million payments valued at around $3.4 billion.
Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock is raising awareness of the plight of Black farmers who have suffered greatly during the covid-19 pandemic as they have struggled to receive aid from the government. In a statement released by the Senators office, he relays the sentiments heard through conversations with his constituents:
"I think about the conversations I have had with them, particularly Black farmers who have suffered years of discrimination from the USDA. Many of these farmers of color and their communities were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with less than 0.1 percent of the nearly $26 billion dollars allocated for USDA COVID-relief ending up in their pockets."
The Senator's plan to help Black farmers, the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, was passed as a part of the American Rescue Plan in March. He continues to raise awareness and push for increased funding to these communities.
Prospects on a fourth stimulus check are not looking high as President Biden's Press Secretary Jen Psaki tells media the checks "Are Not Free." The administration is open to hearing arguments from Congress on a fourth check but advocacy on the topic may not be coming from the White House.
'It's not time for Fed to pare back stimulus': Mary Daly
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly said Tuesday that while the outlook for the economy is positive, it isn’t time for the U.S. central bank to pull back on the strong levels of monetary policy stimulus it is currently providing the economy.
“We’re a long way again from achieving full employment and price stability,” Ms. Daly said in a virtual appearance, adding “it’s not really the right time to start talking about normalization” of monetary policy.
Michael Derby brings you the full report.
Without stimulus support, the PCCF helped out
While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted many families in Park City and Summit County through reduced work hours or full loss of employment, none have been affected more than undocumented women, says Diego Zegarra, Park City Community Foundation community impact director.
Although these immigrants have helped support the economy, they have not been eligible for federal- or state-level unemployment benefits or government-supported stimulus checks, despite paying taxes, Zegarra said.
Statewide studies indicate between 800 to 1,000 undocumented immigrants reside in Summit County, he said.
Stimulus generosity to financial pain
Almost exactly a year ago, Toi Cudworth looked around and realized she was one of the lucky ones, Leslie Albrecht explains.
The San Antonio, Texas resident had a job and a freezer full of food. But just a few miles from her home, thousands of cars lined up before dawn in a flea market parking lot to receive handouts of free groceries.
So when the first stimulus check hit her bank account, Cudworth sent $950 — more than one month’s rent on her apartment — of her $1,200 payment to the San Antonio Food Bank. She included a note: “This is my stimulus check and while I could make use of it, there are those that need it more!”
Read the full account of this tragic story that reminds us how quickly we can depend on support.
Two House representatives, Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), have followed the President’s lead and introduced a bill that would provide first-time homebuyers with a tax credit valued at 10% of the property’s purchase value, up to $15,000.
Rep. Blumenauer stated that the legislation would help those who have been historically shut out of the housing market as prices and demand continue to rise to unprecedented levels.
The act would target low and middle-income families in the United States, particularly families of color, and would who have been subjected to decades of discriminatory and racist “housing policies that have left massive wealth, homeownership, and opportunity gaps between white communities and communities of color.”
Full story from Maite Knorr-Evans
Stimulus, economy, covid-19 recovery...
In case you missed it earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was back in front of the media taking their questions on a variety of topics.
As is often the case, aspects of the American Rescue Plan were raised including potential stimulus payments being made to US citizens in the future.
Stimulus decision making linked to economy
As shared by Humanity Forward, a recent poll has found that 62% of Americans would prefer to tie the stimulus payments to the US' economic health instead of allowing Congress decide when to send additional payments.
How do you feel?
Stimulus money pushing US imports
Consumers and a fresh round of stimulus money pushed demand for US imported goods to a record high in March, reported the Wall Street Journal, further expanding the trade deficit.
The foreign-trade gap in goods and services expanded 5.6% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $74.4 billion in March, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.
Imports rose 6.3% to $274.5 billion for the month, fueled by higher shipments of items including toys, furniture, cellphones, automobiles and semiconductors. The previous record for imports, on a seasonally but not inflation adjusted basis, was recorded in October 2018 when the US purchased foreign goods and services worth $266.72 billion.
Full story by Yuka Hayashi, reporting for the WSJ.
President Biden's American Rescue Plan - along with the primary objectives he's been putting forward for several months - is two-fold: get the economy and US citizens back on their feet financially AND rid the country of the dangers posed by covid-19 through mass vaccincations.
Stay up to date with all the vaccine news you need with our daily live blog.
We'll see what members of congress propose, but those are not free.
Over 2 million sign petition asking Congress for recurring stimulus checks
An online petition calling for recurring $2,000 stimulus checks sent to qualifying American adults has garnered more than 2 million signatures, according to the website change.org.
The petition, started by a Colorado restaurant owner last year, calls on Congress “to support families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for kids immediately, and continuing regular checks for the duration of the crisis.”
Yellen says interest rates may need to rise to prevent the economy overheating amid stimulus
US interest rates may need to rise to prevent the economy from overheating as more of US President Joe Biden’s economic investment programs come on line, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested in remarks released Tuesday.
“It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn’t overheat, even though the additional spending is relatively small relative to the size of the economy,” she said in taped remarks to a virtual event put on by The Atlantic. “It could cause some very modest increases in interest rates to get that reallocation, but these are investments our economy needs to be competitive and to be productive (and) I think that our economy will grow faster because of them.”
President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time on the eve of his 100th day in office. He used the opportunity to tout his achievements and to urge Congress to pass new investment measures for the US economy and society.
The third portion of the White House’s Build Back Better plan, if passed by Congress would be the biggest investment in social benefits since the 1960s when Lyndon B Johnson launched the Great Society program. The exact numbers still need to be worked out, but the American Family Plan is expected to cost around $1.8 trillion over time.
Child Tax Credit could be as transformative as Social Security
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in the nation’s history, the Social Security Act, in 1935. The act promised that every worker would be able to count on support as they aged, however their fortunes might change. By one estimate, nearly 40 percent of all elderly people today would fall into poverty without it.
The American Rescue Plan enhanced an existing program the Child Tax Credit, and if could be just as transformative giving the young a leg-up in life. It has been calculated that the tax credit could cut childhood poverty by almost half. The currently one-year expansion of the credit will send parents monthly payments of $250 and/or $300 per child depending on the child’s age, helping to cover basic costs of raising a child.
Biden promotes $4 trillion plans in visit to Virginia school
President Joe Biden traveled to coastal Virginia on Monday to promote how his proposals to spend $4 trillion for infrastructure and families will help the US education system.
Biden, joined by his wife, Jill Biden, a teacher, visited an elementary school in Yorktown and delivered remarks at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia.
The trip is part of Biden's 'Getting America Back on Track' tour to promote his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and his $1.8 trillion America Families Plan.
Biden’s plan includes $1 trillion in spending on education and childcare over 10 years and $800 billion in tax credits aimed at middle- and low-income families.
It also includes $200 billion for free, universal preschool and $109 billion for free community college regardless of income for two years, the White House said.
Unlike the Internal Revenue Service, which is offering weekly updates on the number of $1,400 federal stimulus checks sent out as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, California’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has so far not released specific information on how many have Golden State Stimulus payments have been made.
However, although no precise figures have yet been announced, the Golden State Stimulus distribution timeline provided by the FTB offers some insight into which qualifying Californians are likely to have received their check.
Raimondo explains why we need to invest in infrastructure
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo sits down to answer questions about the American Jobs Plan to move the US economy into the future.
Small businesses more confident about the future
Each quarter, CNBC and SurveyMonkey poll over 2,000 small business owners to take the pulse of the American economy from Main Street’s perspective. On Tuesday, the second quarterly results were announced.
The survey found that 51% of small business owners support the American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden’s $2.7 trillion infrastructure plan. However, there was less support for raising the corporate tax rate to pay for it with just 39% of small business owners in favor.
Confidence among those surveyed got a bump with 34% of small business owners saying business conditions are “good,” up from 29%. Hiring expectations are also on the rise, 25% expect to take on new hires over the next year.
Biden tax hikes will not fleece the rich as much as is said
Since President Joe Biden released his tax plan there have been cries that the hikes are excessive. However, based o an analysis that Gabriel Zucman of the University of California, Berkeley did for The Morning, historically speaking the tax hikes wouldn’t be that high. David Leonhardt takes a look at how taxes on the wealthy and corporations have dramatically decreased over the past 70 years.
What to do if the first/second stimulus check didn’t arrive
If you were eligible for the first or second stimulus check last year but didn’t get it, you can get your missing payment by claiming a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 federal tax return.
If you received your first/second stimulus check, but didn't get the full amount you were entitled to, you can also seek a Recovery Rebate Credit for the amount you are owed.
On its website, the IRS has an in-depth info section on how you can claim your Recovery Rebate Credit.
The agency has also put together this useful video explainer:
When the third stimulus check arrives in the bank accounts of direct-deposit recipients, the payment appears with the identifying reference "IRS TREAS 310 - TAX EIP3", or something very similar to that.
"COVID Bandit" provides another stimulus payment to waitstaff
During the pandemic there have been stories of people leaving generous tips, sometimes in the amount that went out in the stimulus payments. In Colorado there is a serial high sum tipper known as the “COVID Bandit”. For the third time since January, the individual has left an extremely generous gratuity to employees at a restaurant in Boulder, $4,600 to be shared among staff.
When President Joe Biden gave his first address to a joint session of Congress since entering office, the speech, coming on his 100th day as President, celebrated some of his early successes and outlined his plans for the future. One of which was the extending the expanded Child Tax Credit which will provide monthly payments for millions of families.
To get the US economy back to pre-pandemic levels Biden plans to implement new tax credits and reverse some of the tax cuts passed under President Trump.
Stimulus payment to get vaccinated
As vaccination continues to slow down in the US states are getting creative in their efforts to people to get a jab of the covid-19 vaccine. Whether it be money or a free beer it has yet to be seen if the enticements will work. Dr. Megan Ranney who specializes in public health research told The New York Times “As humans we often respond better to carrots than sticks.”
Early sign of confidence before March factory data
US Treasury yields rose on Tuesday morning after several states further eased coronavirus restrictions. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note advanced to 1.61% in early morning trading. This shows confidence in the data on March factory orders will be good which will be posted at 10 am, along with May’s IBD/TIPP economic optimism index.
Change.org petition calling for recurring stimulus checks creator asks you to share your story
The following is a letter from the Colorado restaurant owner who started a petition calling for monthly payments of $2,000 for adults and $1,000 for children. The Change.org petition started last year is looking to reach 3 million signatures, now has over 2.1 million.
Stephanie Bonin; 3 May, 2021
I created and many of us initially signed onto this petition because we needed to know that we would have a safety net during this pandemic. Even though we don’t want to think about a next time- let’s make sure we are set up for the next economic disaster. Tell congress why they should [be] ready if there is a next time?
One of our allies from the Economic Security Project will be speaking to a powerful group of Senators tomorrow [Tuesday, 4 May] about the idea of having a trigger to release help urgently if we ever are in this situation again! Share your story so he can share your sentiments in his testimony.
Remember when we got that 1st check and it helped? Remember when we waited for months and months while Congress stalled before sending a small second check, and then we waited again for a third check? Tell us how that start & stop was frustrating, how did you benefit from the stimulus checks or struggled in between? These stories make a huge difference!
As our country moves forward with higher vaccinations rates each day, and safety restrictions loosened I share your feelings of never wanting to look back at this wretched year. But PAUSE 1 minute: let’s make sure if there is a next time, we get the help we need faster.
Thank you and pass on the word!
The IRS has now sent out around 163 million stimulus checks to eligible Americans. The seventh batch of direct stimulus payments, worth over $4.3 billion, featured an additional 2 million payments.
Included were 730,000 'plus-up' payments after the agency processed those taxpayers’ 2020 tax returns and saw that those individuals had more stimulus money coming their way.
Dollar extends gains as markets focus on US data
The US dollar extended gains on Tuesday, partially unwinding a month long decline as investors weighed chances that interest rates will be forced higher by a roaring US economic recovery and awaited upcoming data and policy speeches for clues.
Tuesday's bounce nearly reversed losses sustained on Monday after a disappointing US manufacturing survey report, leaving it 1% above a one-month low struck last week.
Though April's headline survey numbers were lower than March, the US recovery remained firmly on track with price pressures rising, while the Federal Reserve appeared to be in no hurry to tighten.
Financial conditions are nowhere near the level where the Fed would consider pulling back its support, New York Fed Bank President John Williams said on Monday, despite the economy being set to grow at the fastest rate in decades this year as it rebounds from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Commerzbank strategists said US data due for durable goods orders and non-farm payrolls will provide further evidence of the economic recovery.
"However, as the market expectations are a bit too optimistic according to our experts it might put pressure on the dollar despite principally positive results," they said.
Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Biden calls for $15 minimum wage
One of the main sticking points for passing the American Rescue Plan was minimum wage in the US, with Republicans pushing back against a proposal to make $15 the base rate for all American workers. After the president upped federal minimum wages to that amount, he has called on Congress to make it the norm across the board for all workers in the States.
Biden: Republican voters "overwhelmingly" support Families Plan
The president said that there is a groundswell of support for his American Families Plan among Republican voters, but admitted he needs to drum up bipartisan support in Congress with Republican lawmakers reticent over his big-spending legislation.
Stimulus checks boost US consumer spending in March
US consumer spending rebounded in March amid a surge in income as households received additional covid-19 pandemic relief money from the government, building a strong foundation for a further acceleration in consumption in the second quarter.
Other data on Friday showed labor costs jumped by the most in 14 years in the first quarter, driven by a pick-up in wage growth as companies competed for workers to boost production.
"While we aren't completely out of the woods yet, today's report shows the beginning of an economic rebound," said Brendan Coughlin, head of consumer banking at Citizens in Boston.
"Assuming no setback in the continued rollout of the vaccines, US consumers are well-positioned in the second half of the year to stimulate strong economic growth across the country."
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, increased 4.2% in March after falling 1.0% in February, the Commerce Department said.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer spending would increase 4.1%.
Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Supply constraints slow US factory activity in April
US manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace in April, restrained by shortages of inputs as rising vaccinations against covid-19 and massive fiscal stimulus unleashed pent-up demand.
The survey from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Monday showed record-long lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices and difficulties in transporting products across industries.
The pandemic, now in its second year, has severely disrupted supply chains. The ISM noted that "companies and suppliers continue to struggle to meet increasing rates of demand due to coronavirus impacts limiting availability of parts and materials." It cautioned that worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to part shortages and difficulties in filling open positions could limit manufacturing's growth potential.
The ISM's index of national factory activity fell to a reading of 60.7 last month after surging to 64.7 in March, which was the highest level since December 1983. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for 11.9% of the US economy. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index edging up to 65 in April.
The White House's massive $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package and the expansion of the covid-19 vaccination program to all adult Americans have led to a boom in demand. But the pent-up demand is pushing against supply constraints.
Still, manufacturing remains supported by lean inventories both at factories and customers.
The American Rescue Plan included an enhanced weekly unemployment benefit of $300 on top of what claimants receive from the state through September.
Stimulus checks: your questions answered
Whether it's doubts over your household's eligibility, working out what you are due, how to access EIP cards, use the non-filers tool or returning your stimulus check, the Inland Revenue Service has you covered.
The latest instalment of the Build Back Better Plan will extend the direct payments in the Child Tax Credit but there's no fourth stimulus check yet.
Biden on American Rescue Plan promotional push
One of the key differences in the Biden administration's economic plan, in comparison to previous big-budget legisaltion under former presidents, has been public information. The White House has been keen to offer Americans as much information as possible about the American Rescue packages and Biden has been on a promotional tour as he seeks Republican support.
Stimulus checks work. Here's how...
The great news for the US economy continues, says Stephen Silver. After positive numbers first for retail sales in March and later on GDP in April, the government released a report at the end of April showing that personal incomes have risen as well.
Personal income increased $4.21 trillion (21.1%) in March, the Bureau of Economic Advisors (BEA) said in an April 30 report. In addition, the report said, “disposable personal income (DPI) increased $4.18 trillion (23.6%) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $616.0 billion (4.2%).”
The 21.1% increase was a record for that particular measure, even after personal income dropped in February.
“The 21.1% March surge in income was the largest monthly increase for government records tracing back to 1959, largely reflecting $1,400 stimulus checks included in President Biden’s fiscal relief package signed into law in March,” the Wall Street Journal said. “The stimulus payments accounted for $3.948 trillion of the overall seasonally adjusted $4.213 trillion rise in March personal income.”
The stimulus checks from the American Rescue Plan, the report said, had a lot to do with the big number.
Full article for The National Interest below
Washington Post reports on Republican response to President Biden's "American Families Plan"
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was quoted saying that the Biden adminstration “wants to jack up taxes in order to nudge families toward the kinds of jobs Democrats want them to have, in the kinds of industries Democrats want to exist, with the kinds of cars Democrats want them to drive, using the kinds of child-care arrangements that Democrats want them to pursue.”
IRS issues benefits update
IRS reminds those who received unemployment benefits this year that the American Rescue Plan "allows taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income to exclude unemployment compensation up to $20,400 if married filing jointly and $10,200 for all other eligible taxpayers. The legislation excludes only 2020 unemployment benefits from taxes."
Eligible Californians are receiving a one-time stimulus check of $600 or $1,200 as part of a statewide relief package passed in February.
When you get your Golden State Stimulus payment depends on when you file your 2020 state tax return.
Find out more about when you can expect your Golden State Stimulus check
Stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our daily stimulus-checks live blog, which brings you the latest news on a possible fourth direct payment, in addition to updates and information on the third round of checks currently being sent out.
We'll also provide info on the Golden State Stimulus payments being distributed in California, as well as details on other economic-aid measures in the US, such as the expanded Child Tax Credit.