Fourth stimulus check news summary: Monday 28 June 2021
Stimulus check latest news | Monday 28 June
-New factors including the delta variant and states ending federal unemployment benefits may impact possibility of a fourth stimulus check. (Full details)
-The debate over enhanced unemployment and "labor shortages," explained. (Full details)
-Workers in Indiana, Maryland and Texas are suing to keep their federal pandemic related unemployment benefits. Full details.
- US Dollar off to firm start as focus shifts to jobs data
- IRS prompts families to file taxes or, if eligible, use the Non-Filer tool ahead of Child Tax Payment date
- Biden walks back comments on infrastructure spending add-ons
- Ending Unemployment benefits costly and not having desired effect (full story)
- California Legislature prepares to pass the $262.2 billion spending plan
- Bipartisan infrastructure bill agreed and the inclusion of a fourth stimulus check (full details)
- Some non-profit organizations continue their push for an additional stimulus check (full details)
- Over half of states are ending federal unemployment benefits (full story)
- IRS has launched: Child Tax Credit Update Portal and Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant
- IRS has confirmed that the monthly Child Tax Credit payments will begin on 15 July (full story)
- Those who wish to opt out of Child Tax Credit monthly payments before they start have until 11:59 ET, 28 June
- $10 billion fund for homeowner stimulus checks (how to apply)
- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' online Get My Payment tool
Have a read of some of our related news articles:
$3,000/$3,600 Child Tax Credit: is IRS contacting families who will receive it? if so, how?
One aspect of the American Rescue Plan that child poverty advocates have applauded is the major redesign of the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 fiscal year. The changes made to the credit now include monthly direct payments, expanded eligibility, and the quantity received by the majority of families. The IRS announced that over 36 million families should be expecting a letter in the mail to inform them about the enhanced tax credit.
Read our full coverage for more details on the credit as well as the portals the IRS has launched to assist families in managing their payments.
Reuters releases video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell discussing his thoughts on the future of the bipartisan infrastructure proposal should Democrats move forward with a reconciliation package.
Unemployment benefits: Have the additional $300 Covid-19 payments led to a labor shortage?
The debate over whether the enhanced federal pandemic related unemployment insurance is creating a national labor shortage is heating up. The June unemployment figures are expected Friday and should provide more information on how these benefits are impacting reentry into the workforce.
While, leaders who have called to end these more generous benefits blame them for slow reentry, some data suggests that job searches are actually down in these areas. Meanwhile, other data shows that the workforce participation rate in states that will be keeping the benefits through September, increased more than in states where they are ending from April to May.
Read our full coverage for a breakdown of both sides of the debate.
In which states has the court ordered pandemic payments to be reinstated?
So far workers in three states have challenged through the courts their governor’s decision to unilaterally end enhanced unemployment benefits early.
A judge in Indiana has placed an injunction on the state stopping the financial assistance ordering the reinstatement of payments. Last week workers in Maryland and Texas joined Indiana in taking their state's governor to court over the decision to end federal pandemic unemployment benefits.
Read our full coverage for more details on the cases and for how leaders have responded to the law suits.
Bernie Sanders says "No reconciliation bill, no deal"
Progressive Senator Bernie Sanders makes his position clear to his moderate colleague Joe Manchin, "no reconciliation, no deal." Sen. Manchin forms part of a group of Senators who negotiated a $579 billion infrastructure proposal with the White House, which stripped the President's American Jobs Plan (AJP) of social provisions supported by Sen. Sanders.
Many progressive members of the House and Senate have stated that unless a reconciliation package is passed that includes the measures left out of the AJP, they will not vote in favor of the infrastructure package. The Hill reports on a tweet released by Sen. Sanders on Sunday which read, "Let me be clear: There will not be a bipartisan infrastructure deal without a reconciliation bill that substantially improves the lives of working families and combats the existential threat of climate change." The Vermont Senator ended by saying "We need transformative change NOW."
This announcement came after "Biden walked back remarks on Thursday," that made the reconciliation package a requirement for getting the bipartisan infrastructure package to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
Read the full story to hear how Sen. Manchin responded.
Will workers in other states sue to continue benefits?
The decision by an Indiana judge to reinstate payments could bode ill for states that have chosen to stop paying enhanced federal unemployment compensation. In his ruling Judge Hanley said that the harm to the jobless by ending the payments outweighed any harm to the state continuing to pay the benefits. Many states have provisions similar to Indiana’s that require the state to procure all federal benefits that are available.
Maryland workers sue to prevent state from ending federal unemployment benefits
Lawsuits have now been filed against three states for their governor’s decision to end pandemic unemployment compensation prior to the 6 September expiration date. 26 states have announced that they will stop paying enhanced jobless aid from one or all of the programs set up under the CARES Act and extended until September under the American Rescue Plan. Indiana is the only state where a judge has placed an injunction on the stoppage of payments ordering the state to continue payments until the case is decided.
Citing labor shortages due to overly generous unemployment compensation, the governors of more than two dozen states have ended or will end at least one or all of the federal unemployment insurance programs early, nearly all Republican led. In a handful of other states with Democrat governors but Republican-controlled legislatures, Republican lawmakers are pushing to end the $300 weekly unemployment booster.
Advance Child Tax Credit payments won’t affect eligibility for other benefits
The 2021 Child Tax Credit monthly payments for up to $300 per child are an advance on a tax rebate and so they won’t count as income. The financial assistance is designed to provide stability by helping families cover monthly expenses. The payments cannot count as a resource for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits or assistance for at least 12 months after you receive it.
As the vaccination campaign has continued to slow, concerns over the delta variant have some public health, and economic policy experts worried that it could slow the recovery and extend the length of the pandemic. With this new information in hand, some organizations and lawmakers have continued their ongoing push for a fourth stimulus check.
$50 monthly subsidy to help to pay for internet bill
During the covid-19 pandemic many Americans were confined to their homes relying on their internet connection to have access to the outside world for schooling, work and to have a chance to see the faces of friends and family. However, for many households paying for good or any internet connectivity could be a daunting task.
A new government program the Emergency Broadband Benefit that provides assistance to pay for internet access is now available to households.
Unemployment claims dropping, but are people returning to work?
Unemployment claims are dropping in states that are ending federal benefits early than in states keeping the $300 weekly booster until 6 September. This is being touted as a success for those states that have chosen to cut the enhanced jobless aid. However, other data puts a different spin on that vindication that some have said is like "kicking people when they are down.” In those same states the number of people actually looking for work is lower than in states where the $300 top-up is still in place.
2021 Child Tax Credit “is a really, really big deal”
Advance payments for the 2021 Child Tax Credit will begin 15 July and, except in August, payment will be on the 13th, will drop the 15th of every month through December. Eligible families will receive up to $300 per child per month. But there is important information to know about the advance payments, especially if your income will be higher in 2021 than in 2020 or 2019, years which the IRS is using to determine eligibility. Unlike stimulus checks, any overpayment would need to be repaid or could come out of next year’s tax refund.
The payments should come as a boon though for low-income families that can struggle with fluctuating income from month to month. But some of those families aren’t required to file a tax return, and if they haven’t used the IRS Non-Filer online tool, they could be left out of the program.
Monday, 28 June deadline to unenroll for advance monthly Child Tax Credit payments
If you have children, don't need extra cash each month and prefer to receive a larger refund next year you'll need to act fast. Monday, 28 June is the deadline to opt out of the monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments. If you choose to unenroll from the monthly payments, you must “unenroll 3 days before the first Thursday of next month by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time,” the IRS says. So even if you miss this date you can unenroll for future months if you think you might owe money back to the IRS.
If you need that extra cash each month and have filed a tax return or used the IRS Non-Filer tool there is nothing more to be done. However if the IRS doesn't have your information you won't be be signed up for the program.
Only around 55% of families have heard about the new program. The IRS asks that you spread the word.
We take a look at the three stimulus checks sent out so far by the US federal government since the covid-19 pandemic began early last year.
Republicans Senate negotiators ready to move forward on infrastructure after Biden walkback
Republican Senate negotiators on an infrastructure deal were optimistic about a $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill on Sunday after President Joe Biden withdrew his threat to veto the measure unless a separate Democratic spending plan also passes Congress. U.S. Senator Rob Portman said he and his fellow negotiators were "blindsided" by Biden's comments on Thursday after a rare bipartisan compromise to fix the nation's roads, bridges and ports.
Britain bans Binance in latest cryptocurrency crackdown
Britain's financial regulator has ordered Binance, one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, to stop all regulated activity and issued a warning to consumers about the platform which is coming under growing scrutiny globally.
In a notice dated June 25, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Binance Markets Ltd, Binance's UK entity, "must not, without the prior written consent of the FCA, carry out any regulated activities...with immediate effect".
Binance did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
Low awareness among eligible parents for Child Tax Payment
Only 55% of potentially eligible parents say they’ve read or heard at least something about the expanded CTC, according to a poll conducted in June by Data for Progress.
Change.org petition for fourth stimulus check hits 2.4 million signatures
A petition for monthly stimulus checks has now surpassed 2.4 million signatures as of late last week and is only approximately out 600,000 signatures away from its target goal of 3 million.
Stephanie Bonin, a Denver restaurant owner, started the petition last year when the pandemic forced the closure of businesses across the country.
Victims of Florida condominium collapse remembered
A couple married for nearly 60 years. A devoted father who spent his days on the baseball field with his young son. A mother whose teenage son was one of the few known survivors.
As rescuers continue searching through the rubble for anyone still alive after a Florida condominium collapsed in the early hours of Thursday, killing at least nine, details are emerging of those who lost their lives.
Antonio Lozano, 83 and his 79-year-old wife Gladys were three weeks shy of celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary.
United States envoy Kerry says world needs a 'wartime mentality' over climate
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said on Monday the world needed to adopt a 'wartime mentality' to face the challenge posed by climate change, urging development banks to scale up their green finance efforts.
While countries covering 55% of global GDP came out of President Biden's recent climate summit committed to net zero emissions by 2050, much deeper action was needed between now and 2030 for the mid-century goals to have any chance of success.
"We've got to get a kind of wartime mentality here," Kerry told a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development conference, calling on countries including the United States to change their bureaucracy to enable quicker action.
"We can't afford to have 10 years of lawsuits and pretend we're going to deal with this issue, it's just not going to happen."
Stretched global supply chain means shortages on summer menus
In the United States, it's iced green tea. In South Korea, it's fries.
At least nine fast-food chains and restaurant companies surveyed by Reuters said some of their locations have been grappling with changing lists of brief shortages of key ingredients and products, as supply bottlenecks plague eateries.
The list of hard-to-find items has included summertime staples such as wieners and chicken wings, and non-food items like plastic packing material and paper bags.
On June 14 the web site of South Korea's No. 1 fast-food chain, Lotteria, alerted customers that its eateries would substitute cheese sticks for its popular french fries, after snarls in ocean shipping and pandemic-related product inspections spawned an outage.
Bitcoin down 1.4%
In the cryptocurrencies market today, bitcoin was down 1.4% at around $34,200. It showed no reaction to Britain’s financial regulator saying that Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, cannot conduct any regulated activity and issuing a warning to consumers about the platform.
Oil prices slip
Oil prices slipped slightly after earlier climbing to their highest since October 2018 on expectations demand growth will outstrip supply and OPEC+ will be cautious in returning more crude to the market from August. OPEC+ meets on Thursday.
"Our view is that long-CAD is a better route than long-NOK for expressing a bullish view on oil prices using the FX market," Stephen Gallo, European head of FX strategy at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients.
Fourth stimulus check?
Despite a Change.org petition which started collecting signatures for monthly stimulus checks worth $2,000 nears its goal of 3 million petitioners and with public pressure for a fourth stimulus check continuing to grow, President Biden seems uninterested in championing the policy proposal.
As the vaccination rate in the US rises, and many return to “normal life,” some experts worry that the sending of another stimulus check could contribute to an inflation crisis. In May, consumers saw the largest increase in prices month over month in twenty years. However, the May numbers can be partially explained in how the calculations are made.
What is the Homeowners Assistance Fund?
One of President Biden’s first priorities upon entering the White House was to pass a large stimulus bill and in March he signed the American Rescue Plan into law. The $1.9 trillion package included $10 billion in government support to be placed into a Homeowners Assistance Fund.
The fund is designed to support homeowners who have been hit hardest by the pandemic and will provide financial assistance for those who are struggling to make their mortgage payments and are facing delinquencies and foreclosures. The money can also be used to cover the cost of utilities and other essentials.
Will wealthy take flight as taxes rise?
States receive about 50 percent of their tax revenue from income tax on the top one percenters making them a critical source to pay for state budgets. Some states have moved to raise taxes on their wealthy residents who saw their fortunes expand during the pandemic, but will the increased bite out of their earnings cause them to move their business and tax dollars to more tax friendly states?
And what could that signal to Democrats in Washington that want to raise taxes to pay for President Biden’s infrastructure and families investment plans?
The federal government sent three stimulus payments to eligible taxpayers. New Jerseyans maybe wondering if that money affects the state's $500 tax rebate
Sterling of the worst performing G-10 currencies last week
Sterling was one of the worst performing G-10 currencies last week after the Bank of England kept the size of its stimulus programme unchanged and said inflation would surpass 3% as Britain's economy reopens, but the climb further above its 2% target would only be temporary.
But sterling rose 0.4% to $1.3926 versus the dollar at 0855 GMT. Against the euro, the pound rose 0.3% to 85.76 pence.
"Historically the price action does tend to suggest a firm sterling into the end of month and quarter," said Neil Jones, head of FX sales at Mizuho Bank. "My sense is seasonal end of month type sterling demand is in play given value date for spot is 30th June".
IRS launches Child Tax Payment Portal
The IRS has said that by using the portal, families can check their eligibility and opt-out should they decide to. As the portal is developed further, those eligible will be able to “check on the status of their payments and make updates to their information, including their bank account information.” Soon the platform will also be available in Spanish.
Nike, bank stocks push S&P 500 to new highs
The S&P 500 index hit a record high on Friday, boosted by gains in Nike and bank stocks, while weaker-than-expected inflation data eased worries about a sudden tapering in stimulus by the Federal Reserve.
Nike Inc surged 14.6% to an all-time high after the sneaker maker forecast fiscal full-year sales ahead of Wall Street estimates, helping the Dow rise 0.63%.
Inflation has been front-and-center of investors' minds, with latest personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data showing a measure of underlying inflation rose less than expected in May. Core PCE rose 3.4% year-over-year, above the Fed's 2% flexible target.
J-Lo thanks Biden for Child Tax Credit
The 51-year-old singer and mother of two, Jennifer Lopez took to Twitter to thank President Biden for his role in making 'Child Tax Credit a reality".
Inflation set to remain high in the near term
Year-on-year inflation is also accelerating as last spring's weak readings drop from the calculation. Though the so-called base effects likely peaked in May, inflation will probably remain high in the near term because of the supply constraints and worker shortages, which are boosting wage growth.
"Even though the positive base effects will lessen in the second half of the year, sequential inflation is expected to remain strong given demand is unlikely to ease as the economy continues to reopen and as supply chains remain under pressure," said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged this week that "inflation has increased notably in recent months," but told lawmakers that the U.S. central bank "will not raise interest rates preemptively because we fear the possible onset of inflation." Powell has repeatedly maintained that higher inflation is transitory, a view shared by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Services spending for May tops $70 billion
Last month, spending on services increased $74.3 billion, led by recreation, restaurants and hotels as well as housing and utilities. Spending on goods decreased $71.5 billion.
The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, excluding the volatile food and energy components, increased 0.5% after advancing 0.7% in April. In the 12 months through May, the so-called core PCE price index shot up 3.4%, the largest gain since April 1992. The core PCE price index rose 3.1% on a year-on-year basis in April. The core PCE price index is the Fed's preferred inflation measure for its flexible 2% target.
New Jersey middle-class families, and those aspiring to be, could start seeing a $500 tax rebate check arriving as soon as 1 July according to the Governor.
Treasury's Yellen to attend G20 finance, climate meetings in Italy
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will attend the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Venice, Italy, on July 9-10 to press U.S. policy priorities on taxes, climate change and an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Treasury confirmed.
Yellen will meet with G20 counterparts and attend the Venice International Conference on Climate with G20 counterparts on July 11. She will then travel to Brussels to meet with European Union counterparts and the Eurogroup "to discuss U.S. policy priorities and respective efforts to support the economic recovery," the Treasury said.
Yellen said on Wednesday that she is seeking to win G20 finance ministers' endorsement of the "core principles" of U.S. proposals to revamp international taxation, including a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15%.
US consumer spending stagnates
Consumer spending in the United States, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, held steady following an upwardly revised 0.9% jump in April. forecast consumer spending rising 0.4%.
Infrastructure spending is likely to help boost the U.S. economy after President Joe Biden announced a deal last week, though it is not expected to make an impact in the short-term.
Dollar off to firm start to the week as focus shifts to jobs data due Friday
The dollar held firm on Monday as investor focus shifted to the U.S. labour market, following softer-than-expected inflation data last week that has done little to soothe concerns about the Federal Reserve dialling down its monetary stimulus.
Signs of a tight labour market have also kept many investors fretting over wage-driven price pressures. Among a raft of economic indicators this week, Friday's payroll data is a key focus - with economists expecting an increase of 675,000 jobs.
"Depending on the outcome of the payroll's data, the market could start pricing in more chances of a rate hike next year," said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities.
IRS to offer free tax preparation for families
The Internal Revenue Service and selected partners will launch 12 advice clinics across the US for families struggling with tax return completion and for general queries.
Details of the bipartisan infrastructure bill have been released, one measure that did not make the cut… another round of stimulus checks.
Over half of US states will end unemployment benefits early, but data suggests that the move isn’t producing the desired effect and could cost those states.
Texas becomes the second state to face a lawsuit from jobless workers over its governor’s decision to end pandemic unemployment benefits early.
Stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live stimulus checks blog for today, Monday 28 June 2021.
We'll be bringing you updates on a possible fourth direct payment, in addition to the latest information on the third round of checks, which has seen around $395 billion go out to eligible people in the US.
As well as this we'll be providing news on other economic-aid schemes such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, which will see monthly payments of up to $300 distributed to qualifying households. Basically, everything you need to know.