Fourth stimulus check and child tax credit summary: 26 July 2021
Stimulus checks news | Mon 26 July
-$1,000 stimulus checks for educators, who is getting them? (Details)
-Prices are going up and fears over inflation are growing -- but are stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit payments to blame? (Details)
-Does the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package include a fourth stimulus check? (Details)
-Some families were surprised with lower payments of the Child Tax Credit, compared to what they expected. (Details)
-IRS warns against scams using the Child Tax Credit to lure in their victims. (Details)
Useful information / links
How much money can you get from stimulus checks and the Child Tax Credit? (Calulate)
Child Tax Credit | Who to contact if you are having trouble with your payment. (Details)
US Congress 101 | What is a reconciliation bill and how is it different from a normal bill? (Details)
Unemployment | Will benefits be reinstated in states that have ended them because of the delta variant? (Details)
Still waiting for your tax refund? Find out when to contact the IRS
Have a read of some of our related news articles:
Over 140 business leaders have signed onto a a letter of support in favor the Bipartisan Infrastrcure proposal.
Do you have questions about the Child Tax Credit? We have you covered.
1. Why are some payments lower than expected? (Details)
2. What are the IRS warnings about payment scams? (Details)
3. Should I opt out if I am earning more money in 2021? (Details)
4. Who do I call about my Child Tax Credit? (Details)
5. Can you claim child tax credit with no income? (Details)
Jerome Powell speaks to increases in inflation seen across the US as the economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic crisis continues.
$10,000 Missouri vaccine lottery: how to enter and sign up
The latest state to introduce its own vaccination incentive is Missouri, after Gov. Mike Parson announced details of the ‘MO VIP’ vaccine lottery on Wednesday. The competition will see hundreds of vaccinated residents receive prizes across a series of drawings.
In a statement announcing the new incentive, Parson said: "Our current covid-19 situation is serious. This delta variant transmits faster than what we have previously seen and is more likely to impact children and the unvaccinated, so now is the perfect opportunity to get vaccinated and earn your shot at $10,000."
Early indicators suggest that the incentive is proving popular after 116,000 people registered for the lottery within the first 24 hours. However the system is slightly different to the lotteries introduced in other states so read on to find out how to be in with a shot of winning the $10,000 prizes.
Read our full coverage for more on how to win.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated that he is "fully committed" to getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed this summer. However, this could mean that lawmakers miss some of their recess as they will need to stay in Washington to get it passed.
Finacial expert Steve Rattner spoke on Morning Joe about how unprecedented stimulus has helped to cut the economic recession caused by the covid-19 pandemic short.
Are stimulus checks and the Child Tax Credit payments leading to an increase in inflation?
Many conservative policymakers and economists blame the third stimulus check and now the Child Tax Credit payments for driving up prices. However, when inflation from devalued currency drives up prices, the percent increase would normally be similar across the board.
That is not what is currently being seen in the US economy.
Since last June, the Consumer Price Index, which measures fluctuations in price, has increased six percent. This is the largest year-over-year increase in thirteen years.
But, many economists monitoring these fluctuations are not shocked, as prices of many goods hit their lowest levels in many years in 2020.
Read our full coverage for more on what the Federal Reserve plans to do and for what sectors have seen the largest increases.
"Hell no, we are not pulling the plug," says Joe Manchin after questions swirl over the likelihood that Democratic and Republican Senators reach an agreement on infrastructure.
With news that negotiations may be falling apart over the Bipartisan Infrastrcue bill, Sen Portman, tweets that discussions are moving in the right direction.
How does the public believe the Bipartisan Infrastructure plan should be paid for?
Data for Progress has released the results of a new poll that show a majority of Democrats and Republicans -- "71%, support $30 billion in federal funds for preparing for the next pandemic and strengthening our public health system."
The group also found that only 13% of voters are confident "in the ability of the federal government to respond to a future pandemic that is similar to the coronavirus pandemic?" Over two-thirds of respondents stated that they believe the United States was unprepared for the pandemic and should have done more in the years leading up.
With 35 million payments sent on day one, the Child Tax Credit has been a boost to families income across the country. The IRS say that 86% of people received the money through a bank transfer but that still leaves 1 in 6 people waiting for checks in the post.
If you are one of these people then you may have questions about when the money will arrive and how to find out how to access more information from the IRS.
Growing calls for the Child Tax Credit expansion to be made permanent
The American Rescue Plan included funding to provide 12 months of the new-look Child Tax Credit, which will see eligible parents receive up to $3,600 per child. However President Biden has been clear that he want to see the support extended far beyond that initial year and his new infrastructure package would extend it until the end of 2025.
For some Democrats in Congress that does not go far enough and there is a growing movement to see it extended indefinitely. They argue that the economic benefits of lifting children out of poverty far outweighs the up-front cost to the federal government.
From 15 July the IRS began making payments as part of the new Child Tax Credit, after the system was overhauled in the American Rescue Plan. So far more than 35 million families have received the support, which will continue on a monthly basis for the remainder of 2021 at least.
However with such a massive nationwide distribution effort underway it appears that some families have been underpaid or missed out entirely. If your Child Tax Credit payment was less than you expected, we take a look at some of the reasons why…
How to track your IRS tax refund
The IRS has faced an uphill struggle to work through an enormous backlog of tax returns which has resulted in delays to the tax refund process. This year the job was even tougher with millions of unemployment benefits recipients in line to receive a refund due to changes to the unemployment benefits system that made the first $10,200 of support received in 2020 tax-free.
If you are still waiting for a refund, this handy online portal from the IRS will allow you to check on the status of your payment.
Teachers were one of the several groups of workers who faced serious challenges in performing their job during the pandemic. They often had to juggle teaching in-person and online, with erratic schedules as schools had to shut down due to outbreaks.
As a way to show appreciation for their efforts, and to help retain teachers and staff, school districts and states have been approving one-time “thank you” or hazard pay bonuses using federal stimulus funds. This however is causing some to raise the question of whether these job-specific stimulus checks are a proper use of the funding.
Recurring stimulus check could replace additional unemployment support
From 6 September onwards the federal government will not longer be offering the additional unemployment benefits that have been available throughout the pandemic. Without the additional $300 weekly payments, or alternative programmes for self-employed or gig workers, there are calls for the government to provide additional support.
Scott Santens is an advocate for a universal basic income and is in favour of of a recurring fourth stimulus check paying $600 on a monthly basis, which will "switch off automatically when certain economic conditions are reached." Numerous Democratic lawmakers in Congress have signed letters asking Biden to consider something similar but for now the President seems unconvinced.
Super-contagious Delta variant driving up US cases
People's lives and the economic reopening are once again under threat as a new surge in cases threatens to derail plans.
It's being dominated by the Delta variant which is the most infectious of any variant yet seen. The CDC is calling the new wave, "the pandemic of the unvaccinated," as the rise in cases is being driven by the states with the lowest rates of vaccination.
Vaccinated persons are very likely to only have mild symptoms and 97% of hospitalizations are people who are not fully vaccinated.
Trump comes out in attack on Republicans over bill
Donald Trump sent a communiqué to Republicans in an attempt to convince them to not support the infrastructure bill, which is due to be voted upon today.
The former President lambasted his former colleagues for being "absolutley savaged" by the Democrats and warned, "don't let the radical left play you."
His words are unlikely to seriously affect proceedings.
IRS warns of Child Tax Credit scams
The organisation says it is aware of potential scams and published a statement explaining the risks.
The IRS will never:
- contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information,
- leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages,
- ask for payment in the form of giftcards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency.
Pelosi threat to sink infrastructure bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to ABC's This Week programme to discuss the upcoming bill.
“Building the human infrastructure is really a part of building the physical infrastructure, so that’s why we will have something further to add [to the Senate’s bill]. The bill is not as green as I would like it to be."
"I won’t put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative.”
President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill has been in negotiations for the last week and there are hopes that it can pass the second round of votes today, as it failed the first last Wednesday. If Pelosi is successful in adding more of the Democrat agenda to the bill then it is unlikely the Republicans would support it.
Climate crisis vs infrastructure
As the talks over what will finally be signed off in the infrastructure bill intensify, Ro Khanna reminds us that there is a bigger concern out there.
If we're going to have to pay to battle the adverse impact of climate change in the future, he asks, why not invest now with that money?
It seems a simple argument, but there are many who are focused on their own profits in the here and now that don't want to see the wood for the burning trees.
There are no Democratic roads or Republican bridges... but there are families in need of shorter commute times... kids that need to be able to drink clean drinking water... and communities need to have reliable transit systems.
Fixing the broken today is okay, but we got to build for tomorrow. There’s a lot we’re going to do. And press is tired of hearing me say this because I’ve been talking about infrastructure for a while now. Hopefully, it won’t be like the last team in here — once a week and not get anything done.
And Mayors and Governors, you know how to get this done and what we have to do. It’s time to stop talking about it and time to get you the resources. But what I want to talk about today is what you need most and what you think will work the best.
Manchin puts stamp on infrastructure stimulus
The question looms over the delicate negotiations on President Biden’s massive infrastructure package, which enters a crucial phase in the Senate this week, as well as pretty much any other item on the Democratic agenda.
The West Virginia senator features on the front page of the Boston Globe this morning and has been at the center of the effort to draft a bipartisan, $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to rebuild the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges that Biden has vowed will be accompanied by a much larger, $3.5 trillion bill addressing Democratic priorities such as climate change and health care.
Manchin has refused to say whether he’ll get behind that second bill, which almost certainly will need all 50 Senate Democrats to pass.
Unemployment claims: July changes
For the week ending on 17 June, initial claims increased by around 51,000 to 419,000. This could, in part, be due to the rapid surge in covid-19 cases, but does not represent a major increase. Rather, the data shows that since June, initial claims have held fairly steady.
Which states saw the largest decreases in initial claims?
*Bold indicates that that the state has or will end all federal pandemic unemployment benefits
1. Georgia (-5,286),
2. Rhode Island (-4,807),
3. Puerto Rico (-3,934),
4. Kentucky (-3,771),
5. Maryland (-2,497)
Which states saw the largest increase in initial claims?
1. Texas (+10,091)
2. New York (+8,190)
4. Tennessee (+3,061)
5. Missouri (+1,793)
The total claims data is released with a two-week delay. For the week of 3 July, 12,573,833, claims were filed, representing "a decrease of 1,262,815 from the previous week."
Which states have the highest and lowest IUR?
The Department of Labor also tracks the insured unemployment rate(IUR) which shows the percent of the workforce receiving unemployment benefits.
2. Rhode Island
4. New Jersey
5. New York
7. Washington DC
Read the full report here.
Outstanding infrastructure stimulus
CNN's Manu Raju tweeted earlier this morning about the progress that has been made in the discussions between Republican and Democratic Senators, but how there are still pending issues.
These include how to pay for the package and how much money should be allocated for public transit.
When he took office in January, one of President Biden’s first legislative priorities was to pass a large-scale relief bill that would form the first stage of his administration’s covid-19 recovery efforts.
He announced details of the American Rescue Plan shortly before entering the White House but it wasn’t until 13 March that he was able to sign it into law after protracted negotiations in Congress. Without any Republican support in the Senate Biden was forced to push the package through using reconciliation.
The $1.9 trillion stimulus package was one of the largest of its kind in American history and it provided direct support in the form of stimulus checks and the reformed Child Tax Credit. In total, these two programmes alone could be worth over $12,000 to a typical family.
Will Gittins looks at how the relief package directly supports millions of families.
Economic recovery and vaccine impact
Dr. Anthony Fauci sat down for an interview with Meet the Press this week to discuss the surge in covid-19 cases.
Experts worry that this new rapid increase in cases could jeopardize the economic recovery in places where there are low rates of unvaccinated people.
Making your own stimulus: how the rich stay rich
Vox released a video showing how many of the wealthiest people in the United States are able to skirt the payment of federal income taxes.
Many are able to do so because income from working a 9-5 job, is not how many make their money.
We have one issue outstanding, and we’re not getting much response from the Democrats on it
It’s about mass transit. Our transit number is very generous.
Bumps on the infrastructure path
Why have negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure bill stalled?
Some reports show that differences over how funds for public transit should be allocated have set back the negotiations.
Senators finalising infrastructure stimulus plan
Axios reports that lawmakers are "finalizing how to pay for the $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure package, tapping everything from unused 2020 COVID relief funds to targeting the Medicare rebate rule."
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia says the group may be able to reach a deal by Monday afternoon.
As negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure plan stall, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The proposal includes many popular measures that were left out of the infrastructure plan put together by over twenty Democratic and Republican Senators.
Sanders who has not been involved in the bipartisan negotiations voiced his concerns over the lack of progressive policies included in the package. In an interview with PBS, he spoke to the disillusionment many feel towards government saying, “there are a lot of people in our country, working-class people, who are losing faith in the ability of government to address their needs. And what we are doing is just that."
Maite Knorr-Evans brings you more.
Stimulus check live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our daily live blog for Monday 26 July 2021, bringing you updates on a potential fourth stimulus check in the United States.
We'll also offer information on the third stimulus check, which began going out in March, as well as economic-support measures such as the new, expanded Child Tax Credit.
Stay with us throughout the day for regular updates, or pop in and out and find out what's fresh.