Fourth stimulus check | news summary for 22 September
- Government agencies begin to plan for a possible shutdown. (Full story)
- Unemployment claims increase just before federal programs ended. (Full story)
- A 6% COLA increase could be applied to Social Security benefits this year. (Full story)
- Millions lost unemployment benefits earlier this month, but are states who cut them sooner seeing greater increase in job growth? (Details)
- Several states move to send their resident a stimulus check as odds of a federal payment decrease. (Details)
- COLA update to Social Security benefits expected in October. How are payments determined? (Full story)
- As a government shutdown looms, experts warn that it could hinder the economic recovery. (Full story)
- Some in California begin to receive a $1,100 stimulus check. Will you? (Details)
Useful information / links
- What is the debt ceiling and will the Senate increase it in order to pass the budget? (Details)
- Overview of the three stimulus checks passed by Congress (Full details)
- How you can track your Golden State Stimulus check
- What state schemes are there for Americans who have lost unemployment benefits? (Find out more)
- Third Child Tax Credit payment sent out earlier this week (How to opt out of monthly CTC)
- How can I register a newborn for Child Tax Credit monthly payments? (Full details)
Take a look at some of our related news articles:
Even though they received the July and August advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit, some parents are missing the third installment.
Unemployment benefit trust funds are in the red after the pandemic
When the pandemic began, unemployment trust funds had around $72.5 billion. Since last March, states have paid out more than "$175 billion in unemployment benefits."
Currently, the Tax Foundation estimates that the "aggregate trust fund balances are negative, at -$11.1 billion, reflecting $44.8 billion in indebtedness currently incurred by 10 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands."
The federal government has also set out guidelines to identify "insolvent" state trust funds, and by their own standard "34 state accounts are currently insolvent, with $114.6 billion needed to bring them all up to what the federal government regards as minimum adequate levels."
Read the full report here.
Where are people missing out on the Child Tax Credit?
The Tax Policy Center has launched a new tool that shows which areas of the country are home to large percentages of households that are missing out on the Child Tax Credit.
In taking a look at Colorado, the organization found that "approximately 37,000 children live in households that may not receive expanded child tax credit benefits despite being eligible."
Eligibility is primarily determined by tax filing status and the Tax Policy Center found that "2.3 million children might miss out on benefits because their families did not file income taxes in 2019 or 2020."
Unemployment benefits: is the end of payments helping people find work?
The ending of the extra unemployment benefits on Labor Day was supposed to get American workers back into jobs. As of the last report, there are more than 10 million vacant jobs in the US, despite 8.4 million unemployed people who can work.
In 26 states, the extra benefits had already ended, but they had a slower job growth compared to the states that kept them.
It remains to be seen how they will affect the September jobs report when it is released in early October, but it can be ascertained that the benefits had little effect of keeping people out of the workplace.
Read more in our full coverage.
Will the Senate vote to increase the debt ceiling?
CNN reports on the current debates on Capitol Hill.
Last night, the House voted to increase the debt ceiling and avert a government shutdown. However, the measure still must be approved in the Senate where votes may be harder to come by.
How did spending levels change in August?
The St. Louis Federal Reserve reported a .07% increase in August.
However, The Wall Street Journal reported that there were notable decreases in spending on cars, which have seen huge price increases leading to lower demand.
When removing the spending drop in the car market, spending increase 1.8%.
Have average earnings or wages decreased during the pandemic?
While earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics had reported an increase in average earnings in in late 2020, and early 2021, data from August shows a decrease.
The BLS reported that in addition to slow job growth in August, the average wage "decreased 0.9 percent," from August 2020 to August 2021.
However, this does not mean that incomes decreased overall. In August 2020, the average weekly income was $1,022, and a year later that figure rose to $1,066.
Read the full report here.
How many jobs could be lost if Congress does not vote to approve an increae to the debt ceiling?
As the US moves into the fall, some are worried about a government shutdown as both parties dig their hills in over a controversial topic: the debt ceiling.
As the economic recovery teeters on unstable ground after a lackluster jobs report in August, many worry that a government shutdown could stunt the recovery for years to come.
Additionally, a new report from Moody Analytics, a Wall Street monitor, estimates that as many as 9 million jobs could be lost if the debt ceiling is not raised.
Fourth stimulus check: Which states will be sending residents a direct payment?
Millions across the country, even some who were ineligible or federal stimulus checks, will see a direct payment from their state government in the coming months.
These includes California, New Jersey, New Mexico, and several other states sending a check to teachers for their work throughout the pandemic.
Read more on these payments in our full coverage.
The moment progressives turned their back on the decoupled bills
Progressive caucus chair Pramila Jayapal was speaking to CNN after a more than hour long meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Senate progressives come out in support of House colleagues
Bernie Sanders, along with ten other progressive allies in the Senate have penned a letter outlining their backing for House progressives who are prepared to vote down the infrastructure bill. The senators' "strong support" is in reaction to the decoupling of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, which had been voted for by Sanders and his colleagues on the basis that the reconciliation bill would be tied to it.
The letter says, “We voted for the bipartisanship infrastructure deal with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track. Abandoning the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act & passing infrastructure bill 1st would be a violation of that agreement".
Last year, California was able to run a budget surplus, meaning the state has the money to afford extra stimulus payments outside the federal packages. They are part of the wider $100 billion California Comeback Plan, initiated to lift the state out of the covid-19 depression. As of the August data, California has one of the highest unemployment rates in the US, standing at 7.5 percent.
For the second Golden State Stimulus, the eligibility requirement is those earning up to $75,000 a year. This is much greater than the $30,000 eligibility limit for the first round of checks. You must also be a tax resident in California for more than half of the 2020 tax year.
Receiving it is simple; make sure you have filed a 2020 tax return.
There is only one way to pass the bipartisan infrastructure and the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Democrats must unite and act together... to those Democrats who only favor the bipartisan infrastructure bill, know this:you are either getting both bills or neither - and the prospect of neither in unconscionable... But imagine the political fallout if Democrats do nothing. Americans will be left with one party that denies all these problems and another that does nothing about them.
Moderates to be cajoled into supporting both bills
With votes looming at the start of next week, Democrats are on a mission to get the support from both wings of their party to pass their agenda.
John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Clinton, has written a letter to Democrats to urge them to come together.
"It's time for the Democrats... to deliver Democracy."
House GOP to vote against infrastructure bill
Despite being negotiated as a bipartisan bill, House GOP members are being whipped to vote against the infrastructure bill.
This would not be a problem for the Democrats usually, but they have drawn the ire of the progressive caucus, who say they will vote against the bill unless it is paired with the reconciliation bill, as was the agreement made when the infrastructure bill passed the senate.
There had been talk yesterday that the Democrats would need to be relying on GOP support for the bill, and now Biden's agenda is under further threat.
Yesterday the House voted to approve a bill that will both fund the government through December and suspend the debt ceiling until the end of 2022. It was seen as a crucial step in securing President Biden's economic agenda but the Democrats will face a much tougher task in the Senate.
Additional funding must be found before the end of the month to avoid a govenment shutdown; but what is it, and what are the economic consequences if it happens?
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. The pandemic assistance programmes that had been in place for roughly 18 months came to an end on 6 September nationally.
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.”
Stimulus checks kept 11.7 million out of poverty
During 2020 Congress passed two relief bills that each provided a round of stimulus checks, totalling up to $1,800 per person. The first one, courtesy of the CARES Act back in March 2020, came as the country was at its most vulnerable as businesses and individuals struggled to come to terms with the 'new normal'.
New research published by the Census Bureau has suggested that around 11.7 million more people would have slipped below the poverty line if not for those two rounds of stimulus checks. These figures may well strengthen calls for another round of direct payments to be included in upcoming relief packages.
Sanders calls for the Child Tax Credit to be extended
With Congress still locked in debate over the future of President Biden's huge $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, Sen. Bernie Sanders has reiterated the importance of ensuring that more funding is allocated to the Child Tax Credit. The current programme, which is worth up to $300 per child in monthly payments, is set to end after just one year but Democrats are attempting to secure an extension, through 2025 at least.
On Tuesday the House of Representative passed legislation in a party line vote, which Democrats hope will prevent a government shutdown. They hope to ensure that the US government can avoid impending economic calamity by temporarily suspending the United States’ debt ceiling, ensuring that it can continue with the Child Tax Credit payments amongst myriad other programmes and expenses.
Democrats push for spending legislation
Top House Democrats have confirmed that the party Reps. will provide enough votes to pass a two-part spending package that is the centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Democratic Caucus Committee Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House will be able to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package as well as a second social welfare spending bill with a price tag as high as $3.5 trillion, despite pushback from party centrists.
“The votes will be there for both the bipartisan infrastructure agreement and the Build Back Better plan," said Jeffries.
Free healthcare for unemployment benefits recipients
The additional federal unemployment programmes may have now ended but there are still benefits on offer for those who received them previously. If you received even a single week of jobless support you could be entitled to free healthcare for the rest of 2021...
The Child Tax Credit expansion was a lesser-known inclusion in the American Rescue Plan back in March, but it has proved extremely popular since going live in July. The overhaul completely changed the programme with a monthly direct payment for the first time.
However as it stands the monthly payments are not permanent. The stimulus bill provided funding for one year of the expanded Child Tax Credit, but only part of that will be made available in the form of monthly payments.
AOC criticises decision to end additional unemployment benefits
On 6 September the pandemic unemployment benefits programmes which had been in place for 18 months were allowed to expire, leaving millions of people without any form of financial support. The decision was criticise by progressives in Congress and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has hit out at those who refused to push for another extension to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
"Letting PUA expire was based on fantasy, not data. We must restore it," she said.
It's thought that rouglhy two-thirds of California taxpayers are eligible for a Golden State stimulus check payment worth $600. The California Tax Franchise Board has already begun distributing the payment - we take a look at who qualifies and when you can expect your direct payment to land in your bank account...
How to register for the Child Tax Credit
The majority of eligible families were automatically enrolled for the Child Tax Credit monthly advance payments when they were introduced back in July. Those filed a tax return in the last two years, or used the IRS Non-filer tool to claim a stimulus check, will have had their details on file so the IRS could make the payment.
But it's thought that between 2.3 to 4 million children may miss out on the credit since they live in households that earn too little to be required to do a tax filing and so will need to provide their details separately.
The advance payments will continue until the end of the year when the changes expire unless Congress acts to extend the provisions. Even if parents miss out on the advance payments they can still claim the amount of the credit due to them next year by filing a tax return.
Still waiting for a third Child Tax Credit payment?
Some families who received the July and August payments of the Child Tax Credit are experiencing a delay in getting the September instalment, the IRS has confirmed. The tax authority has announced a delay in distributing the September payment that went out on the 15th. The agency is working to resolve the issue but warn that some people may be unable to check their status on the IRS' online portal.
Pelosi speaks with Progressive over reconciliation negotiations
Pramila Jayapal, leader of progressive caucus has been speaking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for over an hour as tensions run high in the Democratis Party. Disagreements between both wings of the party are threatening Biden's Build Back Better agenda and could skittle the upcoming reconciliation bill.
Progressives agreed to the infrastructure bill on the basis it would be passed with the reconciliation bill, but now they will not pass together, there is a fear that progressives will vote against both. Sinema and Manchin are determined to stop the reconciliation bill costing $3.5 trillion, a move progressives say is out of the question.
Where is my Child Tax Credit monthly payment?
The new Child Tax Credit payments are supposed to arrive in bank accounts on the 15th of every month, assuming that date does not coincide with a holiday or weekend. But not everyone is getting their payments on time and nearly 15% of eligible households were forced to wait for a paper check in August because their direct deposit payments didn't arrive.
There are reports of this happening again with the September installment but the IRS is currently unsure of what is causing the problem.
"In its scale and the speed of its effectiveness, the Child Tax Credit program is already groundbreaking."
"We can only deliver on the full promise of the CTC if everyone who is eligible, particularly these very low-income families, can access their benefits."
"The CTC is proof positive that government programs can improve lives, especially at a time when many parents, in particular, working mothers of color, are struggling to reenter the workforce and regain the jobs they lost during the pandemic."
Not everyone it sure on the eligibility requirements for the expanded Child Tax Credit, which has so far seen three direct payments, worth up to $300 per child, go out to qualifying families.
The programme is only funded for this year as it stands, but what does this mean for babies born during 2021? Fortunately it is not to late to apply for the programme and start receiving that cash.
Pelosi outlines ceiling for new $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has has told Democrats in Congress that the $3.5 trillion ceiling on the reconciliation spending proposal is an absolute maximum and cannot be breached.
The Senate is in the process of the reconciliation process, which will allow the Democrats to avoid a GOP filibuster and pass their bill with just 50 votes (plus the tie-breaking vote of VP Harris) in the Senate if successfull.
Will the reconciliation bill pass?
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has said for months that dozens of House Democrats are prepared to vote down the infrastructure bill if the larger spending bill isn't done.
That means a cornerstone of Biden's agenda risks a humiliating defeat in the House if party leaders don't rapidly resolve a slew of differences among Democrats over price tag and policy in the bigger bill, which includes priorities like the Child Tax Credit, Medicare expansion, community college subsidies and tax increases on the wealthy.
“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, so our families have the resources needed to thrive this month and into the future.”
Congress is in the process of negotiating the future of President Biden's enormous $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which includes funding for a huge infrastructure project which Biden hopes will rejuvenate the ailing US economy.
The package could also see the expanded Child Tax Credit extended until 2025, but what are the prospects of a fourth stimulus check being included?
GOP states benefit the most from Child Tax Credit payments
President Biden is looking to secure support in Congress for a huge burst of federal spending, in the form of a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The proposal includes an extension to the Child Tax Credit expansion, but has garned little to no support from Republican members.
However a recent study shows that GOP-leaning states have benefitted the most from the programme. Of the ten states with the highest average CTC payments, nine currently have Republican governors and all ten voted for Trump in the last election.
Hello, good morning, and welcome to our daily stimulus check live feed for all the latest on the financial assistance programmes on offer in the United States.
Congress is currently in the process of debating President Biden's $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which could also include a Child Tax Credit extension and additional unemployment benefits.