Fourth stimulus check | news summary for Sunday 11 June

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Fourth stimulus check and Child Tax Credit live updates: is it coming in July? Tax refund, portal to opt out, eligibility...

US stimulus checks live updates | Sunday 11 July 2021

Headlines:

-Child Tax Credit payments for 39 million eligible families to start being sent out on 15 July. (Full details)

-Biden reaffirms his commitment to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent. (Full details)

-Biden fires Trump Social Security Administration appointee Andrew Saul. (Full story)

-Change.org petition for recurring stimulus checks nears 3m target

-Two-thirds of California residents to receive a $600 stimulus check after the California Comeback Plan was passed by state legislature: who is eligible and what do you need to do to get one?

Useful information / links

-As of 1 July, millions are eligible for tax credits to reduce the cost of health insurance. Find out more

-Child Tax Credit: We took a look at the question, is the web portal the best way to apply, what other options do I have? (details)

- You have until Monday 2 August to opt out of the August round of Child Tax Credit monthly payments (find out more)

- How to use the IRS's two new online tools; the Child Tax Credit Update Portal and the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant.

- Should you update your tax return information? Find out when to contact the IRS 

Take a look at some of our related news articles:

STIMULUS CHECKS

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, three stimulus checks have been sent out by the US federal government.

We take a look at each of them

Dems “soft” infrastructure bill has a starting point 

Axios reports that key negotiators in the Senate Budget Committee expect to reach agreement on a starting point for what will be the second Democrat-only "soft" infrastructure bill. Coming in at $3.5 trillion it is far smaller than the $6 trillion Senator Bernie Sanders, who heads the committee, had been floating. Albeit smaller, it covers all the major Biden administration proposals, however it will still need to get through the Senate where more moderate Democrat senators may whittle it down even more.

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Why should some families opt out the advance 2021 Child Tax Credit payments?

The IRS will start sending millions of families advance 2021 Child Tax Credit payments 15 July.  Anyone who filed a tax return in the last two years or has used the IRS Non-Filer tool will be automatically signed up to receive monthly payments from the tax authority.

But some may want to opt out of the payments. Here’s why...

A more competitive market to save Americans money

On Friday President Biden signed a sweeping executive order that looks to tackle everything from the increasingly powerful social media platforms to ensuring hearing aids are made more widely available. The order seeks to create a more competitive market. Higher prices and lower wages caused by lack of competition are now estimated to cost the median American household in total $5,000 per year. 

After signing the order into law, the President told those gathered: "The heart of American capitalism is a simple idea: Open and fair competition. That means that if your companies want to win your business, they have to go out and they have to up their game."

Cleveland suburb considers $4,000 stimulus payment 

Expecting to receive around $1.9 million from the American Rescue Plan the city of Mayfield Heights is considering giving all city employees and administrative staff a $4,000 bonus for working through the pandemic. The proposal started off to reward just the city’s first responders but has grown to include far more of the city’s “essential” workers through the pandemic. 

The plan stalled as city officials consider just who exactly should be included in the bonus scheme. Not to mention the money isn’t in the bank yet, so the city doesn’t know exactly how much it can spend on the proposal.

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Will there be problems receiving IRS Child Tax Credit payments?

It’s show time for the Internal Revenue Service, for the past four months the agency has been preparing to take on a new task. Starting 15 July, the IRS will begin sending advance monthly payments to parents for the 2021 Child Tax Credit. But there still may be some last-minute hurdles to overcome.

Full details:

Utilities companies could rebound with infrastructure bill 

This week senators will hammer out the details of the bipartisan infrastructure bill which could come up for a vote in a little over a week. Utilities companies, although not specifically targeted in the bill could reap big rewards through the focus on clean energy, electric transmission, grid resilience and electric-vehicle charging infrastructure.

Full details:

Dems want to extend 2021 Child Tax Credit changes, but for how long? 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaking about the benefits of the changes made to the Child Tax Credit for children growing up in poverty said that Democrats will extend it “for a significant amount of time.” Many progressives want to make the changes permanent but from what Schumer said it sounds like that will have to wait. The changes made, including sending monthly advance payments on the credit due to start 15 July, are currently only in effect for the 2021 fiscal year. 

So how long could the changes be extended for? President Biden has asked for them to be extended until 2025 but if the Democrats use reconciliation to stretch out the length of the modifications they could go as long as 10 years. Schumer told his congressional colleague to get ready to work into the August recess to work on both the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a second bill that would include an extension of the 2021 Child Tax Credit.

Americans support making the 2021 Child Tax Credit permanent

Likely voters generally view a policy of guaranteed income positively, with even more favorability, nearly 30 points according to Data for Progress, when it comes to supporting kids through the expanded 2021 Child Tax Credit. 

However, the changes to the Child Tax Credit; automatically signing up eligible taxpayers, more than doubling the refundable portion, dropping the earnings floor and making advance monthly payments on the credit, will only last until the end of the year. 

If no action is taken by Congress the Child Tax Credit will revert back to the changes made in 2017. Then in 2025 it will be reduced even further down to $1,000 for children under 17.

A majority of likely voters would like to see those changes kept in place, with 56 percent in favor compared to 33 percent that oppose.

Congress to get down to brass tacks on infrastructure bill 

A group of 21 Senators hashed out a framework for an agreement on a $1.2 trillion deal on infrastructure investment. When senators come back from their Fourth of July recess on Monday, they will need to get down to the nitty gritty of what will actually be in the bill and how to pay for it. Lawmakers and Biden want to have the bill on the floor for a vote the week of the 19th of July, giving them just a week to write up the bill. 

Several initiatives that progressives wanted were left out and how to finance the much-needed investment in infrastructure has presented hurdles to finding agreement across party lines and within the parties. The White House and senators will have to walk a tightrope as interested actors get involved.  

Democrats already have a plan to pass what gets left out in a second bill using reconciliation, as they did with the American Rescue Plan, to avoid a GOP filibuster and pass a second bill with just the votes from their caucus. Will the Republicans let the bipartisan bill through to bash the Dems on the reconciliation bill? We’ll have to watch this week.

Child Tax Credit

$3000/$3600 Child Tax Credit: Will President Biden extend it to 2025?

With the credit scheduled to begin July 15, the Biden administration will face plenty of challenges in achieving their long-term aim of extending it to 2025.

As the US climbs out of the covid-19 depression, President Biden is trying to secure both the recovery of his nation and his legacy as President. Coupled with the unemployment benefits, that for many are soon to end in many states, the Child Tax Credits are one of the President’s main weapons in his arsenal to get the country back on its feet.

And while they are confirmed for the 2021 fiscal year, there is some doubt over whether President Biden can convince his political opponents to support the credits through to his target of 2025.

Read more

US NEWS

Why did President Biden fire the head of Social Security Administration?

Andrew Saul was appointed by former President Donald Trump to a six-year term that was due to expire January 2025. However, congressional Democrats have been pressuring Biden to remove the holdover from the previous administration fearing that he would do lasting harm to the agency that provides economic security to around 64 million Americans.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency that manages benefits to seniors, the disabled and low-income Americans and normally the Commissioner doesn't change with a new administration. However, The Washington Post reported that a recent Supreme Court ruling and a memo by the Justice Department on Thursday affirming Biden’s authority “to remove the SSA Commissioner at will,” gave the President the green light.

Full details

The American Families Plan explained

Susan Rice, the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor, and Cecilia Rouse, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, have held a web chat to explain the ins and outs of Joe Biden's American Families Plan and how it will work for those it seeks to support.

The IRS has issued more than 169 million payments in the third round of direct stimulus aid, with another 2.3 million people last month receiving the $1,400 checks. But some lawmakers are pushing for a fourth round of stimulus aid that would effectively send recurring payments until the pandemic ends.

The reason, according to a survey from financial services firm TransUnion as reported by CBS Moneywatch,  is that millions of Americans remain in financial distress, with about 4 in 10 people saying their income remains below its pre-pandemic levels.

US NEWS

Why is Wells Fargo shutting down all of its existing personal lines of credit?

Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the US, faced backlash by consumers and policymakers this week over their move to “close down all existing personal lines of credit in coming weeks and has stopped offering the product,” CNBC reports. 

This news comes as the financial giant tries to rebuild its image after a major account scandal rocked the organization in 2016. The bank was found to have been pressuring branch workers to open more accounts, leading to over 3.5 million fake accounts between 2002 and 2017.

Full story

German finance minister downplays inflation fears

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said people should estimate that inflation is temporary. "We are looking at this development of inflation," he said in a Bloomberg TV interview on the sidelines of the G20, but added, "all experts, all the central bankers around the globe say it is temporary." Scholz also said that the European sovereign debt as a response to the the coronavirus crisis is showing that Europe is "starting to be a more sovereign union."

Will Biden's jobs plan affect new homebuyers?

According to a report from Business Insider, the Biden administration's proposed American Jobs Plan would create new hurdles for minority and low-income first-time homebuyers. In an effort to pay for the plan, the government would raise the cost of private mortgage insurance, potentially squashing the dreams of millions of Americans. 

Tax changes for large firms may not be ready until 2022

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday that a new mechanism to allow more countries to tax large, highly profitable multinational firms may not be ready for consideration by lawmakers until the spring of 2022.

Yellen told a news conference after a G20 finance leaders meeting in Venice in Italy that the OECD "Pillar 1" re-allocation of taxing rights was on a "slightly slower track" than a global corporate minimum tax of at least 15% as part of a major tax deal among 132 countries.

G20 finance ministers and central bank governors endorsed the deal over the weekend, but questions remain over the ability of US President Joe Biden's administration to persuade a deeply divided Congress to ratify the changes.

Yellen said she hoped to include provisions to implement the so-called "Pillar 2" global minimum tax into a budget "reconciliation" bill this year that Congress could approve with a simple majority.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Can other states extend pandemic payments like Maryland has done?

Lawsuits have been filed in four of the 26 states that decided to end federal unemployment programs before they expire 6 September. So far, judges in Indiana and Maryland have placed temporary restraining orders on those states ordering them to continue the payments.

Both Maryland and Indiana have appealed the court decisions. Maryland announced upon its appeal being denied by the state's top court that it will comply continuing enhanced unemployment payments until 13 July when the restraining order expires. Indiana so far has not complied with the injunction against the state stopping the federal out of work assistance while it awaits a hearing on its appeal.

In an email to the IndyStar, the Department of Workforce Development said that it “is determining how to proceed because the federal programs in Indiana no longer exist after their termination on June 19.”

Read more

The federal government's stimulus programs during the pandemic have directed trillions of aid to families, businesses and local governments. Although most eligible households have already received checks from the three rounds of direct stimulus aid, some forms of government assistance remain available. 

Experts say the array of government initiatives has helped stem financial hardship for millions of Americans. Much of the aid is directed to low- and middle-income households, who are more vulnerable to job and income losses. For example, families with children under 17 will soon be able to tap expanded tax credits for child care and other expenses, enabling parents to return to the workforce. 

Read more from CBS

Another extension of student loan moratorium in sight? 

President Biden has been urged by members of his party, administration and advocacy groups to further extend student loan relief one last time, through the end of January 2022. Payments and interest on student loans has been frozen since March 2020 providing relief to more than 40 million student loan borrowers.

Not stimulus but could mean more money in your pocket 

President Biden signed a sweeping executive order that looks to tackle everything from the increasingly powerful social media platforms to ensuring hearing aids are made more widely available. However the main focus is internet operators and tech giants.  

The executive order seeks to encourage competition among service providers by giving customers better information about companies’ service, restricting early termination fees and ban exclusivity. "That lack of competition drives up prices for consumers. As fewer large players have controlled more of the market, mark-ups have tripled,” the White House said in a statement. 

Full details at CNN

Stimulus check petition continues to gain signatures

The Change.org petition created by Stephanie Bonin, a Colorado restaurant owner, has been gaining traction since its creation last year. The petition calls on Congress “to make recurring checks automatic if certain triggers are met,” so that people will not have to wait around for the government to act. Those recurring checks would be “$2,000 payments for adults and $1,000 payment for kids."

It has now surpassed 2.5 million signatures with a stated goal of 3 million signatures which would make it one of the top petitions on Change.org.

US NEWS

$1 million dollar vaccine lottery winner: who is the Oregon college student? What has she said?

Oregon joined a number of states around the US in offering cash prizes and college scholarships to its residents to encourage them to get vaccinated. The state is ahead of the national average for the percentage of people vaccinated crossing the 70 percent milestone days before Fourth of July goal set by President Biden.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced Friday that an Oregon State University student, Chloe Zinda, had won the state’s $1 million "Take Your Shot" lottery.

Read more

Investment in childcare is an investment in the economy 

The American Families Plan is part of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda which covers “human” infrastructure investments. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told his congressional colleagues to get ready to work into the August summer recess to work on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and a second reconciliation bill which would include proposals from the American Families Plan. Some of those proposals include universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and making childcare more affordable.

Representative Katie Porter from California’s 45th district told Fox News that those investments are “not just about kids. It's an investment in our economy." 

She’ll be holding a town hall to discuss those proposals and more Sunday 11 June at 3 pm PT, in the Mike Ward Community Park.

Where are the $600 Golden State Stimulus checks? 

The California State Legislature approved the $262 billion state budget at the end of June which included a second round of $600 stimulus checks to Californians but since going to Governor Gavin Newsom it has sat there. In order for the checks to go out the budget needs his signature.

So far there hasn’t been word from the Governor’s office about what is causing the delay or why the bill hasn’t been signed yet.

Expanded Child Tax Credit only for 2021 fiscal year

The changes to the Child Tax Credit; automatically signing up eligible taxpayers, more than doubling the refundable portion, dropping the earnings floor and making advance monthly payments on the credit, will only last until the end of the year.

If no action is taken by Congress the Child Tax Credit will revert back to the changes made in 2017. Then in 2025 it will be reduced even further down to $1,000 for children under 17.

CTC

Child Tax Credit: frequently asked questions

On the IRS website, there is a useful FAQs page that may well resolve any queries you have about the expanded Child Tax Credit scheme.

You’ll find questions and answers on a range of topics relating to the CTC, such as eligibility, calculating your credit and unenrolling from advance monthly payments.

Visit the IRS’ Child Tax Credit FAQs page

(Image: www.irs.gov)

Stimulus check live updates: welcome

Hello and welcome to our daily live blog for today, Sunday 11 July 2021, bringing you updates on a possible fourth stimulus check in the US.

We'll also provide you with information on the third round of stimulus checks, which began going out in March as part of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, in addition to news and info on other economic-support programs such as the new, expanded Child Tax Credit.

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