Fourth stimulus check | news summary for 26 September

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Fourth stimulus check live updates: 26 September

Headlines  

- How would the government shutdown impact SNAP benefits? (Details)

- In some states, those on social security receive more generous benefits. (Full story)

- Petition to send a monthly stimulus checks nears 3 million signatures. (Full story)

- Federal agencies begin to plan for government shutdown. (Full story)

- Could seniors see a fourth stimulus check? (Full story)

- One state announces program to provide unemployment benefits to self-employed people including "gig-workers." But will it actually? (Full story)

- A potential government shutdown could delay the payments of Social Security benefits. (Details)

- New projections show possible 6.1% COLA increase for those on Social Security. (Full story)

- Several states are planning to send residents stimulus checks as chances of a new federal payment decrease. (Details)

- California begins rollout of $1,100 stimulus check. Who is eligible? (Details)

Useful information / links

Social Security

- Who is eligible for the maximum Social Security benefit? (Details)

- Who receives the maximum benefit? (Details)

- What age should you file for social security to get the maximum benefits? (Details)

- Overview of the three stimulus checks passed by Congress (Full details)

- How to track your Golden State Stimulus check

- Third Child Tax Credit payments sent out (How to opt out of monthly CTC)

Take a look at some of our related news articles:

Senators speak to the issue of increasing the debt ceiling

On CNN, Senator Cory Booker reminds Republicans that the increase to the debt ceiling needed to avoid a economic crisis is needed to cover debt accumulated under the Trump administration.

While speaking with Jake Tapper, Sen. Booker said: "$8 trillion dollars worth of debt. This debt ceiling raise is all about money Donald Trump spent to give the biggest tax cuts [...] to the wealthiest of wealthy."

What happens if the debt ceiling is not increased? Check out our full coverage.

US NEWS

Would the government shutdown impact SNAP benefits? 

Would the government shutdown impact SNAP benefits?

The Department of Agriculture, responsible for the distribution of nutritional assistance programs, including SNAP and WIC, has updated their "Contingency Plan" for a possible 2021 shutdown. The updated plan states that the agency has a legal mandate to “continue operations,” for these SNAP and WIC, and other programs, “during a lapse in appropriations.”

However, if an increase to the debt ceiling is not passed by Congress, the US Treasury could run out of money and delay the benefit payments for many federal programs.

Read our full coverage for how the Republican resistance to increasing the debt ceiling threatens the welfare payments, including SNAP benefits, for millions in the US.

MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart took a look at what programs could see a delay in payments if the debt ceiling is not increased

Programs ranging from unemployment insruance to food asstaince could see delays if the Treasury is allowed to run out of money in October.

Families can’t just not pay their bills, and neither can the US Republicans know that the right thing to do is to raise the debt ceiling—and if they don’t, it’s families in WA state and across the country who will face the consequences.

Senator Patty Murray, Washington (D)

Infrastructure bill vote moved to Thursday

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday reiterated her promised to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill up for a vote by Monday, but earlier today walked that back with it clear that she did not have the votes from the more liberal wing of the party.

This evening she made it formal in a statement she released saying that debate will begin on Monday but that the vote will take place Thursday. That is also the deadline to bail out the Highway Fund which is included in the the infrastructure package.

Two centrist Dems are backing the the $3.5tr social spending package

Axios reports that Representatives. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Filemon Vela (D-Texas) are publicly promising to vote for the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package Dems want to tie to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The move is an attempt to move the infrastructure bill already approved by the Senate through the House.

The bill was scheduled for a vote on Monday but it appears that Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the votes with 50 progressives threatening to tank the bill if the larger spending package isn't also passed. Pelosi will meet with her caucus Monday afternoon before the vote to argue her case before the vote.

Fate of congressional spending proposals tied Dems fate at polls

Voters are already casting ballots in the Virginia governor's race and as President Biden's popularity slips after a trying period in his presidency, so too has that race grown closer, now neck and neck.

Whether Democrats can overcome their intraparty fighting over the two big legislative packages they are trying to get through Congress could be determinative to their success next fall in the midterm elections warns gubernatorial candidate and incumbent Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“Voters didn’t send Democrats to Washington to sit around and chitty-chat all day,” said Gov McAuliffe. They want “to see competence; they want to see people doing their jobs.”

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

Do social security benefits depend on your state? Which states have the highest payouts?

How much you receive from Social Security depends on several factors, but principally how long you worked, how much you earned each year and what age you retire at. Where you live can make a difference as you build up your future retirement fund, and once you retire, just how far the monthly payments will go.

Full details

We’re going to pass a historic middle class tax cut — and we’ll do it by making those at the top pay their fair share. I know the crowd on Park Ave might not like it, but it’s time we give people in towns like Scranton — the folks I grew up with — a break for a change.

Joe Biden, POTUS

Those who could miss out on Child Tax Credit payments

It's estimated that between 2.3 and 4 million children live in households that could miss out on the advance payments from the 2021 Child Tax Credit because their families earn too little to be required to file a tax return, one of the two ways the IRS automatically enrolled children in the program.

For those who are not required to file a tax return, they can use the agency's Non-filer tool to sign up for the scheme before the end of the year.

Infrastructure bill may not come up for vote on Monday

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi earlier this month cut a deal with moderates in her party to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate up for a vote by Monday. The plan was to have the party's larger bill that would make major investments in America's social safety net ready at the same time but it may not be possible.

Both measures are facing resistance from opposite wings of the party, progressives say they will not vote for the infrastructure bill without their larger package, and moderates are reluctant about the size of the spending in the reconciliation bill. 

Speaker Pelosi on Sunday walked back her promise to bring the infrastructure bill up for a vote on Monday saying "Let me just say that we're going to pass the bill this week." She has also said that the $3.5 trillion bill may well be smaller than planned.

Debt ceiling, paying off bills already incurred

The US is racing toward a brick wall in the next couple weeks. If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling or suspend it again the US will have trouble paying its bills and could default on its obligations. The debt ceiling didn't always exist, it was created in 1917 to control the cost of the nation's involvement in World War I, and has been there every since. 

Regardless of the Democrats' new spending bills the US will breach the current debt ceiling due to spending approved under the previous administration, almost $8 trillion, and the ones before that.

Child Tax Credit helps parents work

Senator Joe Manchin has suggested that parents be required to work in order to receive the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Currently under the changes made through the American Rescue Plan the tax provision was made fully refundable so even if parents paid less in taxes they received the full amount of up to $3,600 per child.

New research finds that nearly 94 percent of parents that started receiving the advance payments in July plan to continue work or work more. The other 6 percent who were primarily parents of very young children said the credit would allow them to switch jobs or work less so they could take a more active role in raising their kids.

Rep. Jayapal: "Tell us what you want to cut"

Progressives have been flexing their muscle to get a second more expansive spending package through Congress at the same time as the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The reality is setting in that the bill will not be the full $3.5 trillion that was agreed to but leader of the Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal wants to know what those who are hesitant want to cut.

"If you want childcare, if you want paid leave, if you want to take on climate change, if you want to repair housing in this country, if you want to make sure people have healthcare... There's going to be a price tag that goes with it."

Gov. Larry Hogan on infrastructure, "Just get it done!"

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wrote an op-ed in USA Today urging lawmakers in Washington to pass the infrastructure bill due for a vote on Monday and to not let the extremes of the parties hijack the process of getting the much needed funding to repair America's roads and bridges approved.

We've gotten a lot done, but there is just so much more to do it's the ultimate sausage making

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) , On Democrats plans to pass infrastructure and President Biden's larger spending package

Democrats plan to move forward with legislation proposals

"Will we get this all done in terms of lowering costs at one time? I think it's reasonable to say that we will move forward on what we can agree on now and then we'll just keep on working."

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D), Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee 

Booker signals a willingness to compromise

More progressives are publicly signalling that they will back down on the reconciliation bill. Cory Booker, Dem Representative for New Jersey, is the latest.

"If we do a $3 trillion bill, a $2.5 trillion bill, I'm going to push for as big and bold as we can. But it will be a historic investment in America," Booker said while appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"And to get half of this done and leave mothers who are looking for affordable childcare, Americans who are looking for lower cost prescription drugs, to leave people like that on the wayside, families that need that child tax credit, to leave those folks on the wayside is unacceptable to me. So I've seen the best of intentions. I want a more real guarantee," Booker said.

President Biden called the bluff and it seems it could pay off, if the bills can get voted upon together.

US NEWS

What age should you file for social security to get the maximum benefits?

Social security has been in the news a lot recently, due to the changes that are going to be made to the COLA for 2022, as well as the situation with a potential shutdown of Congress in October.

In terms of pensions, the retirement age in the US is 62. It would make sense then that you would receive the largest social security payment then, wouldn't it. In fact, the optimal age is actually 70, where you could receive up to a $1,000 more a month than someone who retired at 62.

Of course, there are few who would choose to work until they are 70-years old, so that is the trade-off to consider.

Read more here

Pelosi confident infrastructure bill will get over the line this week

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence on Sunday that the $1 trillion infrastructure bill will pass this week but said she may not bring it to the floor on Monday as she previously pledged.

Over the weekend there has been some movement from progressive Democrats who are sounding like they will drop their reconciliation bill demands lower to ensure it gets passed.

Signs of compromise from progressives?

Democrat Representative Dan Kildee was speaking to MSNBC about how he would be willing to compromise on the size of the bills.

"I will also support a big step in the direction that these two pieces of legislation take... perhaps we will be rewarded with continued majorities," he said, alluding to the need for the Democrats to pass major bills before the midterm elections in 2022.

Just represents one person from the caucus, but could point to further plans in the coming days.

US NEWS

Why is the social security Cost-Of-Living-Projection historically high?

On Tuesday 21 September, the Senior Citizens League projected that the social security Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for next year will be between 6% and 6.1%. In July the increase was projected to be slightly higher at 6.2%, but the new figure still represents the biggest increase in 40 years.

This is mainly due to the high inflation the US economy is experiencing in 2021. This is due to a few factors, including the large government investment in keeping people and companies afloat, as well as historically low interest rates on loans from banks.

Another factor of social security payments has been developing this week. The US has reached its self-imposed debt ceiling, meaning there could be a government shutdown in October that may affect payments. However, policymakers have tried to reassure recipients that they will still receive the benefits as usual.

Read more here

I think at the end of the day Joe Biden needs to step up and say, ‘this is what we need to do together, everybody needs to pitch in to reach these goals.’ And if he can convince a couple of folks in the Senate, I think it will happen.

Dick Durbin, Senator from Illinois

I think the main issue is that right now the president is going to have to get even more involved than he has been in bringing people together.

Chris van Holler, Senator from Maryland

I think [Biden is getting involved], but this is definitely the time where the White House and the president need to be engaged on a daily basis. The clock is ticking.

Chris Murphy, Senator from Connecticut

Will Biden's agenda be advanced?

Democrats are urging President Biden to way in as the party faces big divides amid a big two weeks, with his signature legislative item at stake. 

The calls for Biden to act comes as the president acknowledged that his agenda is at a “stalemate,” amid high-profile fights between not only moderates and progressives but the House and Senate over the scope of the $5 trillion spending package. 

Democrats are looking for sustained hands-on engagement with the hope Biden could sway holdouts and resolve points of tension that have slowed down Democrats’ efforts to pass a $3.5 trillion spending package. 

FOURTH STIMULUS CHECK

Fourth stimulus check: will a payment be sent to those receiving social security benefits?

The Senior Citizens League (SCL), an organization that advocates for the rights of seniors argue that the federal government should send $1,400 to Social Security beneficiaries who have seen their disposable incomes plummet during the pandemic.

For many of the more than 64 million people who receive Social Security, the benefits are their only source of income. This figure represents one in every six Americans and four out of five seniors.

To garner support and attention, the SCL launched a petition which has gained over one million signatures. The petition reads “I (and/or my spouse) want Social Security recipients to receive a $1,400.00 emergency stimulus check to cope during this unprecedented inflationary year. Social Security benefits are one of the few types of income in retirement adjusted for inflation.” But lawmakers have been silent about any prospective plans.

Read more here

Infrastructure bill to be voted upon Monday, might not need progressive support

House Republican leadership on Wednesday announced that they will whip votes against the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, despite it getting the support of 19 Senate Republicans who helped negotiate the bill in the first place. There is Republican mistrust now it is tied with the reconciliation bill, despite Democrats openly acknowledging this at the time.

However, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state estimating on Friday that at least 50 members of her caucus will vote against the infrastructure bill, it is unlikely that the efforts to pressure Republicans to vote yes can make up for the wave of left-wing no votes. Jayapal rightly says the Democrat leadership reneged on a pledge to pass both the infrastructure and reconciliation bills together.

Will Joe Manchin torpedo the extended Child Tax Credit?

Despite its overwhelming success so far, the Child Tax Credit could run into problems next week. There had been plans to extend them to 2025, but one Democrat senator has his misgivings about the plans.

Manchin suggested earlier this month that the extended child tax credit should include work requirements, insisting that “tax credits are based around people that have tax liabilities” and that recipients should “have a W-2 and show that they’re working.”

Senator Sherrod Brown argued in his speech that “we have not recognized in this country that raising kids is work.” Moreover, the people who would lose out by restricting the benfits would be those who need it most, children.

Due to the tightness of the Senate, his single vote is worth as much as every other Dem put together.

US NEWS

Who can receive the maximum social security of $3,895 monthly?

In 2020, around 74.2 percent of those receiving social security benefits were retirees. Those with disabilities comprised a little over 13 percent of beneficiaries, and families of deceased beneficiaries form the remaining recipients.

The average benefit amount was $1,544 for retirees and $1,277 for those with disabilities.

For retirees, the maximum benefit amount depends on the year one retires. The highest benefits are given to those who retire at the age of seventy, $3,895; followed by those who retire at sixty-five, $3,113
. Those who chose to retire before sixty-five are penalized with lower benefits

Read more here

Sanders spoke on the merits of the Child tax Credit

Sen. Sanders, one of the key leaders pushing through the $3.5 reconciliation bill took to the floor to explain the benefits of extending the credit's current structure. He noted its potential to make serious cuts in child poverty rates if it were to be extended.

There are fears that if the reconciliation bill is watered down, then the CTC will not be able to be extended in its full form.

Dems $3.5 trillion social spending plan moves to Rules Committee

In a 20-17 vote the House Budget Committee approved the Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending proposal that would be the biggest expansion of the American social safety net since the 1960s. One Democrat, Representative Scott Peters joined Republicans in voting against advancing the spending proposal which has been put together over the past few weeks. 

The bill which Democrats plan to pass using reconciliation to avoid a GOP filibuster in the Senate will now go to the House Committee on Rules. 

But there are still many steps before it can be voted upon next week.

Fourth stimulus check updates: welcome

Hello, good morning, and welcome to our daily stimulus check live feed for Sunday 26 September. We'll aim to keep you up to date with all the latest on the financial assistance programs 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. 

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