Fourth stimulus check live updates: Friday, 17 Septemner
- AOC announces effort to extend federal unemployment benefits through February 2022. (Full story)
- New projections over Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2022 emerge. (Full story)
- President Biden fails to convince Sen Manchin to back $3.5tr spending bill
- Seventeen states saw increases in unemployment claims last week. (Full story)
- A new bill to extend federal unemployment benefits through February 2022 emerges on Capitol Hill. (Full story)
- How can I register a newborn for Child Tax Credit monthly payments? (Full story)
- Last week, initial unemployment claims rose for the first time in recent months. (Full details)
- 800,000 New Yorkers lost unemployment benefits when federal programs ended. (Full story)
- September Child Tax Credit payments sent, when will the money arrive in banks (More info)
- Fourth federal stimulus check not in $3.5tn reconciliation bill (Full story)
- Some US states sending out their own stimulus payments (More info)
- Overview of the three stimulus checks passed by Congress. (Details)
Useful information / links
California Golden State Stimulus checks:
- California Tax Franchise Board set to send 2 million more Golden State Stimulus checks Friday 17 September.
- Who can receive a second Golden State Stimulus check? (Details)
- When can I expect my $600 Golden State Stimulus in California will arrive? (Details)
- What state programs exist for Americans who have lost unemployment benefits? (Full details)
- IRS distributes third Child Tax Credit payment (Find out how you can opt out of monthly CTC)
Some of our related news articles:
Underwood pushes for Child Tax Credit expansion
Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois was a vocal proponent of the expanded Child Tax Credit and again shares her view on the benefits that the programme brings. She cites the cost of childcare and schooling expenses as areas where families may need some extra assistance, especially given the economic fallout from the pandemic over the past 18 months.
In a statement from back in July, Underwood said: “The Child Tax Credit will deliver critical resources to families when they need it most, but let’s be clear: families need support well beyond this pandemic. I’m fighting in Congress to permanently expand these Child Tax Credit payments."
On 6 September a number of key additional unemployment support programmes were allowed to expire, leaving millions of out-of-work Americans without any financial support. These programmes included the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA); the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC); and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
President Biden has made clear that states could reinstate the additional unemployment benefits if they wanted to, so why have no states decided to do so?
The parents of roughly 60 million children will get another boost to household finances in the coming days as the prepare to receive the next round of payments as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit programme. The third of the six advanced monthly payments will be sent out on 15 September, with most coming as a direct deposit straight into the recipient's account.
The payments are the result of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan which greatly expanded and increased the tax provision, but only for the 2021 fiscal year. An extension is being floated currently in the House.
New round of stimulus checks for California residents
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has confirmed that his administration has began making payment as part of the next round of Golden State stimulus checks, which are going out to around two-thirds of residents in total. The $600 direct payments are the result of the $100 billion California Comeback Plan, which was largely funded by a massive $75 billion budgetary surplus from 2020.
So far the first two payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit have been distributed, with another in the process of being sent out currently. Families have reported being able to put food on their tables more reliably and it had staved off the threat of poverty for millions of households.
The programme is currently only funded for a single year, meaning that parents with a child born in 2021 have just a limited window to ensure they sign up for the monthly payments. The IRS has made provisions for children that have been born within the window of the Child Tax Credit rollout, ensuring that those families who need the money will not be left behind through no fault of their own.
How much would a Child Tax Credit extension cost?
As it stands, the expanded Child Tax Credit is set to expire next year and revert back to the old system of a single, annual tax credit. Democrats are desperate to see it extended beyond that initial period but will almost certainly have to pass a reconciliation package to do so.
Congress is set to vote on a massive $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal later this month which would provide funding for the Child Tax Credit, alongside myriad other social and infrastructure programmes. Here's how that cost compares to the US' military spending.
“Cutting off unemployment benefits has been proven to do nothing to get people back to work in this pandemic. We need to bring back federal pandemic unemployment benefits until we get the virus under control. I'm proud to co-sponsor this bill.”
"I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just simply allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse, when we are clearly not fully recovered from the consequences of the pandemic.”
When the American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March, few focused on the Child Tax Credit expansion but it has proved extremely popular since going live in July.
This overhaul completely change the way that the credit was provided, offering a monthly direct payment for the first time, and made it far more generous than the programme which had gone before. But how long will the programme last for?
Would a fourth stimulus check be a good idea?
In response to the underwhelming jobs report released last month, many have called for additional financial stimulus to be introduced to the US economy. One of the most popular methods to do so would be to introduce a fourth round of stimulus checks, in the hope that it would embolden consumers and provide a boost for businesses. However, in this short video from Vox, some leading economists explain why that may not be a good idea...
How much would poverty have increased without federal aid like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits?
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that without key federal aid programs, poverty could have risen to 25%.
Thanks to unemployment programs like the PUEC and PUA and the sending of the first two stimulus checks, poverty fell to the lowest level in more than 40 years to 9.1%.
However, many worry that as these programs end the rate of those living in poverty could increase sharply in the coming months.
Brookings details the impacts of evictions that often fail to make the news
In late August the federal eviction moratorium was overturned by the Supreme Court. The justices who voted on the side of a realtor association in Alabama argued that small landlords were disproportionately hurt by the moratorium and that it was no longer needed as the economic recovery was in full swing. However, in the weeks that followed, organizations like Goldman Sachs released projections that as many as 750,000 households could be evicted by the end of this year.
In light of these developments, researchers at Brookings took a look at the impacts evictions have on communities and their findings are alarming. In a new blog, the authors stated that "evictions have restarted, with evicted parents being separated from their children while entire communities are likely to see increased COVID-19 diagnoses."
Additionally, the researchers -- Carl Romer and Kristen Broady -- described the disproportionate harm this decision would have on the Black communities saying, "Black-majority neighborhoods see higher eviction rates relative to neighborhoods where less than 1% of the population is Black—even where poverty rates are low, education rates are high, and renters’ cost burden is small."
Will AOC’s bill extend pandemic unemployment insurance until 2022?
In a monthly town hall hosted by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she spoke to her constitutes about a new bill she is proposing to extend federal unemployment benefits through 2022.
In her comments, the Congresswomen articulated her frustration with Congress saying, “I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just simply allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse, when we are clearly not fully recovered from the consequences of the pandemic.”
Read our full coverage for details on other efforts to boost unemployment benefit pushed for on Capitol Hill.
Where is the second $600 Golden State stimulus check? How can I track its status?
Now that the California recall has ended, eyes are focused on the sending of Golden State Stimulus checks. Check out our coverage to see when your check can be expected and how to track it.
Who supports extending unemployment benefits?
After many lawmakers on Capitol Hill remained silent over their support on extending unemployment benefits, many have now come forward.
This includes thirteen members of the House Progressive Caucus who sent a letter to Speaker Pelsoi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer arguing that "Congress should set a floor for UI duration that states must follow, broadly include part-time workers, ban exclusions based on past wages, and require alternative base periods."
Many were motivated to sign onto the letter learning the devastation cutting benefits will have in the US. The letter reads that "Our nation is now left with a system that denies life-saving resources to over
two-thirds of our unemployed neighbors and that covers less than half of lost wages. In some cases, nine out of every ten jobless workers have no unemployment benefits."
The signers of the letter include, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Andrè Carson (IN-07), and Nikema Williams (GA-05).
Read the full letter here.
Which states saw increases in the number of unemployed people from July to August?
While at the national level the number of unemployed workers fell from 9,176,368 in July to 9,011,277 in August, some states experienced increases.
Many experts believe this is due to a combination of factors including the surge in covid-19 cases caused by the Delta variant and the impacts of severe natural disasters like Hurricane Ida.
1. Massachusetts (4,999)
2. Ohio (4,832)
3. Wisconsin (1,071)
4. Kansas (292)
5. Iowa (252)
6. New Hampshire (133)
7. Rhode Island (121)
8. South Dakota (102)
9. Maine (50)
10. Vermont (39)
President Biden failed to convince Joe Manchin to support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package
In weekend show interviews this week, Senator from West Virginia told hosts that he would not support a $3.5 reconciliation package, regardless of whether he supported the measures or not.
Without Manchin's vote, the effort is doomed in the Senate where Democrats would the votes of all members of the caucus.
Axios reported today that after a conversation with President Biden, Senator Manchin still opposed the bill, even after "Biden explained to Manchin his opposition could imperil the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that's already passed the Senate."
More than forty Democrats in the House have stated that they will not vote in favor of the infrastructure package if the reconciliation bill is not passed, seeing their votes as their only leverage.
In which states did unemployment claims increase last week?
When federal pandemic-related unemployment programs ended on 6 September, nearly 9.3 million workers had claimed benefits the weeks before.
On Thursday, 16 September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the first increase in initial unemployment benefit claims in weeks. Last week, initial claims rose by 20,000 to 32,000.
Read our full coverage to see which states saw the greatest increases and information on how these fluctuations impact the recovery effort.
Why did prices increase so much in August?
This summer has been tough for the American consumer. After the pandemic took a heavy toll on supply chains, prices have increase across many sectors.
New data form the BLS, showed that the Consumer Price Index increased "5.3 percent for the 12 months ending August 2021, a smaller increase than the 5.4-percent rise for the year ending July." Sectors with the largest gains were energy and food.
While many had hoped the August would show decreases, an indicator that the economy was stabilizing, the agency reported that "Energy prices rose 25.0 percent over the last 12 months, and food prices increased 3.7 percent; both were larger than the increases for the year ending July."
Read more here.
How did government stimulus aid impact poverty in the United States?
The US Census Bureau reported earlier this week, that the poverty rate had fallen to its lowest rate -- 9.1% -- in recent years. This is down from 11.8% in 2019.
Much of this decline was attributed to the sending of stimulus checks and federal programs to boost incomes for those left without work during the pandemic. These two measures helped to keep more than 11 million from falling into poverty.
The third Child Tax Credit payment has been sent out on September 15, but those with newborn children may have questions regarding their eligibility.
Powell calls for review of Fed ethics rules
It came to light earlier this year that senior policymakers at the Fed made several personal multi-million dollar transactions last year. The trades came at a time when the Central Bank was deciding stimulus measures and fiscal policy to rescue the US economy.
The Fed insists that its rules are more stringent than those for Congress, but the review is necessary because “trust of the American people is essential.”
Where are people missing out on Child Tax Credit
The vast majority of children were automatically enrolled in the enhanced Child Tax Credit advance payments scheme created by the American Rescue Plan. Paying the credit upfront and at regular intervals was an especially important part of the tax provision to help struggling households have more financial stability by receiving the tax credit.
This feature it was hoped would reduce childhood poverty, which it has with over 3 million children lifted out of poverty. However, different studies estimate that between 2.3 and 4 million children live in households that are at risk of missing out on the monthly payments because they aren’t required to file a tax return and may have difficulty accessing the online tools designed to make enrolling for the credit easy. The Tax Policy Center provides a handy interactive map to see where in the US families are most at risk.
Student loan debt delaying homeownership
Part of the American Dream is owing your own home; however, student loan debt is cited as the reason a majority of millennials and a third of boomers said in an online poll. Outstanding student loan debt in the US is higher than credit card and auto debt. It has surpassed $1.7 trillion and around a third of borrowers are in delinquency or default.
Fully refundable feature of Child Tax Credit should stay
Robert Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury from 1995 to 1999, argues that the chief reason the Child Tax Credit is working is that the credit is refundable. This means that families that are too financially stretched to owe any federal income tax receive the credit as a direct monthly payment.
Prior to the credit being made fully refundable in the American Rescue Plan, the parents of some 27 million children received a reduced credit or no credit at all. Before the changes a parent had to “earn” $2,500 to even begin to qualify for the credit gradually getting more of the $2,000 credit as their income increased. Meaning children in families that needed it most were left behind.
The former Treasury Secretary would also like to see Democrats find a way to make the changes permanent which could see childhood poverty cut in half.
White House addresses Manchin’s Child Tax Credit work requirement
Sen Joe Manchin wants to include a work requirement in order for parents to qualify to receive the enhanced Child Tax Credit which includes the monthly advance payments. Gene Sperling, the White House coordinator for the American Rescue Plan, gave two reasons why he thinks Sen Manchin will get on board to extend the changes to the CTC.
One, 97 percent of children that receive the credit are in working families.
Two, the other 3 percent are in families with an excessive disability or health challenge or excessive care needs for older parents.
“I think in the long run its going to be a tough negotiation...
… but I think we’ll get there. And the reason is, there is a shared value here,” Sperling said.
The week before federal unemployment programs ended, more than 9.3 million people claimed benefits. With the ending of these programs came news that 35% of respondents to a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau in late August said that they were behind on their rent and mortgage payments.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez discusses a new bill that would extend federal pandemic unemployment benefits through February 2022.
Manchin not swayed by Biden on $3.5tr spending plan
Democrats want to push their $3.5 trillion spending plan that would reshape the US social safety net through Congress without any GOP votes. In order to do that they will need all 50 votes they have in the Senate to approve the measures including extending the Child Tax Credit monthly advance payments scheme.
One major obstacle, not all are on board. Axios reports that Senator Manchin was not swayed by President Biden to toe the line during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday. Lawmakers are writing up the language for the proposal which they want to put to a vote by 27 September.
I know we still have a long way to go, but I’m confident that Congress will deliver to my desk both the bipartisan infrastructure plan and the Build Back Better Plan I proposed.
The expanded program was introduced by the American Rescue Plan and there are proposals in Congress to see the monthly payments extended beyond 2021.
How to send your child to college debt free
Getting a college degree is an investment in the future, but a costly one. The more recognized the institution the better one’s prospects in the job market down the road, but will be harder on your pocket. So, let's say you want to send your child to Oxford, you’ll need to save up quite a bit, $454,990 according to CNBC.
One thing financial advisors are recommending that parents put away any extra money left over from the monthly Child Tax Credit payments towards a child’s future educational needs. Here’s how you can save and invest to reach that goal, or perhaps a more modest one.
How has the Child Tax Credit affected childhood poverty?
Early figures suggest that the expanded Child Tax Credit is having the desired effect and is reducing the number of families across the United States living in poverty.
Last week a group of Democrats in Congress unveiled their proposals to see the current program (with monthly payments worth up to $300 per child) extended through 2025. It would also make the refundable element made permanent, ensuring that low-income families will not have their entitlement limited.
We shouldn’t let taxes go up on working families. We shouldn’t let child poverty continue to stain the conscience or drag down our economy.
And so, I say to my colleagues in Congress: [The Child Tax Credit] for working families is something we should extend, not end, next year.
REMINDER: New Child Tax Credit payments are on the way
On Wednesday the IRS began sending out payments as part of the new Child Tax Credit, with eligible households receiving up to $300 per child. The payments began in July and this week's round represents the third to be distributed. If you haven't yet signed up for the programme, head over to GetCTC to submit your details and trigger the monthly financial support.
The IRS is sending families the September installment of the 2021 Child Tax Credit on the 15th, but how long will it be before it arrives in bank accounts?
Hurricane Ida contributed to increased unemployment claims in Louisiana
Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the United States but Louisiana was hit especially hard. Some cities like New Orleans were left without power for days and many businesses had to shut their doors to deal with the damages. In the week after the Hurricane, unemployment claims rose by 4,000.
Most Americans support tax increases on corporations
To pay for another major stimulus bill, Democrats are proposing tax increases on corporations to cover the costs. While this measure is not supported by the Republican caucus and some more conservative Democrats, it holds wide support by the public.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found in a new project that around 71% of the public support tax increases for major corporations. Across parities, support is over 50%, while Republicans show the least support with only 51%.
How did the first two stimulus checks impact poverty in the United States?
New data from the US Census Bureau show that various types of pandemic related assistance helped to keep millions out of poverty. This includes stimulus checks, for which the The Wall Street Journal estimates helped keep 11.7 million people from falling into poverty in 2020.
The aid landscape looks very different today and experts believe that without action, many of these benefits could be lost. With no stimulus check in sight, federal unemployment programs ended, and the eviction moratorium lifted, millions of households find themselves in an extremely precarious economic situation.
Who supports an extension of the Child Tax Credit?
In addition to nearly all Democrats on Capitol Hill, many economists believe that extending the current structure of the Child Tax Credit would be beneficial to the US economy in the long run.
CNBC has reported that nearly 450 economists signed a letter urging the Congress to extend the benefit.
Jacob Goldin, a researchers at Stanford University and one of the economists who spearheaded the letter writing effort, said that "there’s just very, very strong evidence that providing extra financial assistance to kids growing up in low-income households yields big benefits in their lives.”
Why did unemployment claims increase last week?
Economists warn that the economic disruptions caused by the covid-19 pandemic are far from over. Last week initial unemployment claims rose by 20,000 after hitting their lowest level recorded during the pandemic.
Some believe that this could be tied to the poor job market growth seen in August, the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida, and the ongoing impacts of the Delta variant.
Stimulus checks and Child Tax Credit live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live blog on Friday 17 September 2021, offering you the latest updates on a possible fourth stimulus check, plus information on the enhanced Child Tax Credit.
We'll also provide you with news on other relief measures in the US, such as unemployment benefits and California's Golden State Stimulus checks scheme.