Stimulus check and Child Tax Credit live updates: Thursday 5 August
Stimulus checks: live updates, Thursday 5 August
Eviction moratorium extended for two months
The support for renters ended August 1 but the CDC has extended the ban on evictions until October 3. The image of the weekend was Democrat Representative Cori Bush embracing protestors after she slept on the stairs of the Capitol for five nights in protest at the ending of the original moratorium.
More than 3 million Americans feel like their homes are under threat while 11 million are behind on rent payments.
We are working on an agreement. As you know, we've been working all day but we aren't there yet. As work continues on the agreement, I am filing cloture on both the substitute and the underlying bill for a Saturday vote.
Stage set for final infrastructure bill vote on Saturday
Senator Chuck Schumer has filed cloture on the infrastructure bill, meaning a vote on the bill can happen on Saturday.
There can still be amendments put forward for the bill before then, however.
You have a little over a month to apply for MEUC, the programme which provides weekly support for those with both employed and self-employed income.
Stimulus checks: every AS English article
In our dedicated stimulus checks section, you’ll find news articles offering updates on a possible fourth federal check, in addition to information on other similar schemes such as the Golden State Stimulus payment.
It has been over four months since the American Rescue Plan was passed and lawmakers, individuals and research groups are extolling the virtues of the direct payments.
We take a look at the three stimulus checks distributed by the US federal government so far during the coronavirus pandemic.
Senators gird for CBO analysis of $1 trillion infrastructure bill
A $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Thursday faces its biggest test of this week's US Senate debate when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office delivers its judgment on whether the measure fulfills a promise of not adding to Washington's budget deficits.
Negotiators on the bill, which would fund construction projects ranging from road and bridge repairs to expanding broadband internet service, have argued that its $550 billion in new spending was being financed in large part by transferring money from existing programs.
Republican Senator Rob Portman, a lead negotiator, on Wednesday reminded senators that the legislation will bring federal dollars for high-priority improvement projects.
"As a life-long Cincinnatian, I've seen firsthand the dire need to invest in a solution for the aging Brent Spence Bridge" that spans the Ohio River, Portman said.
Increased economic activity related to new construction jobs and business growth stemming from the $1 trillion in investments were expected to spur government revenue collections, although maybe by not as much as lawmakers hope.
If the CBO concludes lawmakers have fallen short in crafting a deficit-neutral bill, it could prompt some Republican senators to oppose the legislation after showing support in two early procedural votes.
In late July, 17 Republicans joined 48 Democrats and two independents in voting to advance the bill. Those 67 votes are comfortably more than the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation.
No more than seven Republicans could cite newfound fiscal concerns and abandon the legislation on a final vote for it to still have enough support to pass, assuming all 50 Democrats and independents stay on board.
Among the 17 Republicans who gave an early green light are fiscal conservatives including Charles Grassley, John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer.
Conversely, a good grade from the CBO could prompt Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to move to limit debate in order to wrap up work on the bill promptly, especially if senators felt they had adequate opportunity since Monday to offer their amendments.
It also would give Republicans, who are campaigning in the 2022 congressional elections against Democrats' other big-ticket spending bills, reason to argue that this infrastructure bill would bring long-needed repairs to publicly owned facilities without adding to the nation's $28.6 trillion debt.
Harris appeals for infrasructure deal to be passed
Last Wednesday the Senate voted in favour of a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan after a deal was struck between President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators. After the 67-32 victory the proposal was first presented in the Senate on Monday, 2 August.
The proposal is much smaller than President Biden's $2.3 trillion proposal, the American Jobs Plan, but contains a lot of crucial policies. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer faces a race against time to get the 2,702-page legislation through Congress before the month-long recess from 9 August.
The IRS is scheduled to make the next round of payments for the Child Tax Credit on 13 August, the second such payment since the new programme was introduced in July.
The overhauled Child Tax Credit will provide a monthly payment worth up to $300 per child for those aged younger than six; while children aged between six and 17 will be entitled to a maximum monthly payment of $250. However some older 17 year olds will not be eligible to the payments.
Democrats claim Child Tax Credit has boosted retail spending
The main purpose of the new Child Tax Credit was to provide relief for American families, but it seems like the first round of payments has already resulted in an impressive economic uptick. This tweet from the North Carolina Democratic Party points to the 10.9% increase in retail spending since the first round of payments went out in mid-July. In total more than 35 million households received support from the programme, with an average payment of $423 clearly helping to boost consumers' spending power.
Is a fourth stimulus check a good idea?
Throughout the pandemic the stimulus checks have provided a short-term cash influx to support struggling Americans and to provide impetus to the flailing economy. However in recent months President Biden has cooled on the idea of providing a fourth stimulus check and has looked to focus on other, more long-term initiatives instead. In this short video from Vox, a number of leading economists explain why stimulus checks may not be the most effective solution and could cause the economy to 'overheat'.
On 15 July the IRS began sending out payments as part of the new-look Child Tax Credit, the first of its kind in American history. The United States Treasury Department has confirmed that more than 35 million families, with roughly 60 million children, received the support.
The total cost of that first round of payments was $15 billion, meaning that the average payment was $423. However some have found that their payment was less than they expected; what can you do if your Child Tax Credit payment amount is wrong?
Child Tax Credit payments will continue for the rest of the year
Monthly payments for the new-look Child Tax Credit will continue for the remainder of 2021, with the next batch to be sent out on 13 August. After December's payments the remaining six months of support will be issued in a single tax refund when you file your 2021 taxes, or will be used to reduce the size of your outstanding tax bill.
Despite calls from progressives within the Democratic Party and from Americans across the country, President Biden has remained unwilling to push for a fourth stimulus check in recent months. The Biden administration has focused on his new infrastructure project; however the proposal includes an extension for the new Child Tax Credit but no fourth stimulus check.
With nothing forthcoming from the federal government, some states are choosing to provide their own direct payments for residents.
IRS introduces Spanish version of the IRS Child Tax Credit tool
The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant provides an easy way to oversee payments for the new-look federal programme and establish whether you are eligible for the support. The interactive portal allows you to both check eligibility and find out how big your monthly entitlement will be so you can ensure you’re not being underpaid. For the first time, this information will now also be available in Spanish through the same portal.
Throughout the pandemic the three rounds of stimulus checks have been amongst the most important, and most expensive, forms of financial support provided by the federal government. By May 2021 the IRS had sent out over $850 billion worth of stimulus checks to eligible taxpayers.
The entitlement on offer for each household depended on their adjusted gross income, with low- and middle-earners getting the majority of the support. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation found that roughly 92% of households earning less than $75,000 got the Economic Impact Payments, also known as the stimulus checks. How has this affected financial stability for American households?
Still waiting for an IRS tax refund?
Throughout the pandemic the IRS has been tasked with overseeing a range of new programmes, from the stimulus checks to the reformed Child Tax Credit, so it should be no surprise that this has caused delays and issues with their usual work.
The tax agency estimates that is has already made around 9 million mathematical or clerical errors while processing the 2020 tax returns. To make sure you weren’t affected by the mistakes, check out this handy guide.
Protect your Child Tax Credit payments from scammers
Unfortunately throughout the pandemic fraudsters have been targeting the various forms of support offered by the federal government and attempted to take advantage of the payments. This has already been seen with the three rounds of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits, and it seems that they are now turning their attention to the Child Tax Credit.
Here's everything you need to know to stay safe..
Stimulus spending boosts consumer confidence
Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell has praised the "very strong consumer environment" after the firm reported considerable increase inthe first quarter of 2021. He said that the phycial stores had experienced strong sales with consumers eager to return to normal routines after the disruption of the past 12 months. He also mentioned the role the the federal government has had on the increase, through the distribution of stimulus checks to boost consumer spending.
Lawmakers in Washington are continuing to discuss the fate of President Biden’s huge infrastructure proposal but it appears that the final bill will not include another round of direct payments.
Biden is showing no sign of considering including a fourth stimulus check in the trillion-dollar package, opting to favour less direct forms of financial stimulus. However many in Congress and across the United States would like to see another stimulus check and they will retain hope of convincing Biden of the merits.
How has the Child Tax Credit changed over the years?
The American Rescue Plan introduced a number of key changes to the Child Tax Credit but the programme itself has been in place for nearly 25 years. First implemented during the Clinton administration, the CTC has provided tax relief for families and was traditionally used to reduce the size of an end of year tax bill or increase a household's refund.
How is the new version different?
Petition for recurring monthly$2k stimulus checks approaches 3m signatures
A Change.org petition calling for recurring monthly $2,000 stimulus checks is edging closes to its target of 3 million signatures, which would make it one of the top signed petitions on the platform. 2,748,724 have signed the petition (at time of writing).
Sign the petition here.
Infrastructure bill could make paying bitcoin taxes easier
Here is one added benefit of infrastructure bill that may have passed under the radar...
"There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the inclusion of crypto taxation in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill before the U.S. Congress. However, should the bill pass there is one clear benefit for investors - it will become much easier to understand and pay your crypto tax obligations moving forward," wrties Shehan Chandrasekera for Forbes.
Child Tax Credit could generate benefits worth eight times its cost
The approximately $100 billion invested in increasing the child tax credit could generate about $794 billion in current and future benefits for society, according to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University.
These benefits include increasing children’s safety and future earnings, improving health outcomes for both children and parents, and reducing health care costs and spending on child protection and criminal justice services, the study states.
On Sunday, lawmakers unveiled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which a bipartisan group of Senators and the White House have worked on over the last few weeks. After a series of debates in the Senate last week, the bill has been finalized. All in all, the legislation has a price tag of over $1 trillion and is over 2,500 pages.
But when will the enormous infrastructure proposal be put to a vote in Congress, and who is likely to support it?
Stimulus checks kept 12.4m people out of poverty, study finds
The Urban Institute has concluded that the three rounds of stimulus checks served as vital short-term support throughout the pandemic. A recent study found that another 12.4 million people would have fallen into poverty if not for the direct payments.
The payments worked alongside other federal relief programmes like the additional unemployment benefits and new Child Tax Credit system. The Urban Institute found that the childhood poverty rate has fallen by 81% when compared to what it would be without any of those programmes in place, from 30.1% to 5.6%.
How will the new Child Tax Credit affect your family?
There has been some concern that low-income families are being excluded from the new Child Tax Credit due to the extra step involved for non-filers claiming the payments. The White House is eager to get the payments out to all eligible families and has instructed the IRS to provide all the help needed...
Factbox: What's in the US Senate's bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill?
The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate is working on a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to update America's roads, bridges and broadband networks, clearing the way for a possible vote on the package later this week.
The legislation, President Joe Biden's top domestic priority, includes $550 billion in new spending, while the rest of the $1 trillion is comprised of previously approved funding.
Here are some of the details of the bipartisan bill:
* Roads, bridges and major projects: $110 billion
* Passenger and freight rail: $66 billion
* Broadband infrastructure: $65 billion
* Water infrastructure, such as eliminating lead pipes: $55 billion
* Public transit: $39.2 billion
* Electric vehicle infrastructure, including chargers: $7.5 billion
The plan has a number of proposals to finance the spending, including the following items and the revenue gains from each over the next decade.
* Repurposing unused COVID-19 relief funds: $210 billion
* Sales of future spectrum auctions and proceeds of February 2021 c-band auction: $87 billion
* Return of unemployment insurance funds from some states: $53 billion
* Delaying Medicare Part D rebate rule: $51 billion
* Applying information reporting requirements to cryptocurrency: $28 billion
* Reinstating Superfund fees: $14.5 billion
Good morning and welcome to our dedicated stimulus check and Child Tax Credit live feed, bringing you all the latest developments from Washington, DC as President Biden looks to pass his trillion-dollar infrastructure proposal before Congress breaks for summer.