Fourth stimulus check | News summary for 26 October


Fourth stimulus check live updates: tax return, Social Security increase, Medicare, Child Tax Credit...

How has unemployment changed over the last year?

The BLS reported that forty-seven states have seen increases in employment over the last year. As a percentage "Hawaii, where employment rose 12.9 percent, followed by Nevada (6.6 percent), and Texas (5.9 percent)" have seen the highest increases. In brute numbers of jobs added, "California (795,800), Texas (711,500), and Florida (405,900), and New York (212,000)" saw the largest increases. 

When will the next paymnet of the Child Tax Credit be made?

There are just two payments of the Child Tax Credit left to be paid this year. Families can expect their next check worth $300 for children under six, and $250 for those between six and seventeen on 15 November.

Congressman Sean Casten argues for lowering the Medicare eligibiltiy age

Congressman Casten argues that by closing the Medicare gap, health outcomes for the nation's seniors could increase. If a senior chose to retire before 65, when they become eligible for Medicare they can find themselves without coverage. Many then put off preventive care visits to the doctor because of the price. This then causes some cancers to be diagnosed late, leading to fatal outcomes in some instances.


How old do you have to be to get on Medicare?

At sixty-five seniors eligible to receive Social Security benefits are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. Each year, Medicare members are able to purchase supplemental plans, Parts C and D, which enhance coverage.

However, the reconciliation bill includes a measure that would lower the eligibility age to sixty to help close what is known as the "Medicare gap."

Read our full coverage to learn more.


What are unrealized capital gains? Who pay taxes for it?

With negotiations surrounding President Biden's spending plans said to be drawing to a successful conclusion, the disparate Democrat groups must now find a way to pay for it. The president has ruled out increasing taxes for ordinary Americans, going so far as to call the Child Tax Credit one of America's great middle-class tax cuts, so the burden must fall on the super rich Americans who have made a killing throughout the pandemic.

To put this into context, Elon Musk made $25 billion in one day, Monday 26 October. Millions of Americans, and people all around the world for that matter, are being devastated by the economic fallout of the pandemic, with record numbers of Americans applying for unemployment grants or benefitting from the various rounds of government support since March 2020.

One way to increase tax on the super rich is taxing unrealized capital gains, but what are these and who will be affected?

Read more here

Progressives hold firm for both bills

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, head of the progressive caucus emerged from an hour long meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi amplifying her long-held position: Progressives won’t support the bipartisan infrastructure bill before there is agreement on every detail of the social spending package at the heart of President Biden’s domestic policy agenda. 

“Let’s vote both of them out at the same time, and I would even be willing to vote the BIF and then three hours later the reconciliation bill as long as we have full agreement from everybody — everyone on the House side, everyone on the Senate side,” Jayapal told reporters.


Is the Medigap plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan better? differences between them

Medicare members have two options to supplement their basic coverage to include more services and reduce costs: Medigap and Medicare Advantage.

What are Medigap Plans?

A Medigap Plan can be purchased by members to bring down the costs of Medicare. Purchased through a private insurance company, Medigap Plans cover many costs like co-payments and deductibles.

What are Medicare Advantage Plans?

 Medicare Advantage Plans, or Medicare Part C, can be purchased to increase the services covered by Medicare to include dental, sight, and hearing benefits. Medigap plans do not include these benefits as they are solely focused on keeping costs down.

Read more here

Could the domestic agenda be passed this week?

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is predcicting today that a long-sought Democratic agreement on President Biden's domestic policy agenda is imminent, saying a deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

"The president's working very hard on this, and the Speaker's been working very hard on it," Hoyer said during a press call. "And so there's a lot of work that's been done and I think it could come together relatively quickly in the next few hours."

But it has been weeks of negotiation, and any success could be a bit too presumptive.

Progressives may still tank infrastructure bill despite framework agreement

Dealmakers in the Democratic party have been working out details of the Build Back Better bill which members of the Progressive Caucus want to see passed before they will agree to vote "Yes" on the infrastructure bill languishing in the House.

According to reports Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said 90 percent of the "care economy" bill is nailed down, but there is no expectation that a written bill could be drawn up for a vote before the end of the week. Instead negotiators hope to have a framework which they can work with. 

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is saying that won't be enough for at least a dozen of her members. Pelosi can only lose a few votes from her side of the aisle if the infrastructure bill is to pass without GOP support. Despite the bill getting a bipartisan vote in the Senate, Republican leaders in the House have been whipping votes against the infrastructure bill.

Pelosi wants to bring the infrastructure bill up for a vote before the end of the week to send President Biden off to the Climate Summit in Glasgow with something to show. Additionally, the Highway Fund will run out of money 31 October if the infrastructure bill is not passed.

Elon Musk not keen on "billionaire tax"

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden has proposed a tax on billionaires to help pay for the Democrats' spending bill based on the Build Back Better plan. The proposal would affect around 700 tax payers in the US who have income over three consecutive years over $100 million or assets in excess of $1 billion.

Tradable assets would be taxed annually but non-tradable assets, such as ownership of a business, would not. Instead an annual fee woud be imposed on the non-trabable assets which would be paid when they were sold. 

Elon Musk, who currently has the highest net worth on Forbes list of billionaires, has taken issue with the tax proposal and hopes his twitter followers will too. He tweeted a template of a letter people can send to their lawmaker to express opposition to the tax proposal. 


Will California residents on Social Security get a Golden State Stimulus check this year?

Residents of California needed to have file a tax return and report at least $1 of income to receive the Golden State Stimulus. The latter potentially left out millions of beneficiaries.

Full details

Americans felling more optimistic about future economic prospects

US consumers are feeling good about the their future job prospects and potential rise in earnings. That optimism has them making plans to splurge on large purchases from appliances to cars and houses, as well as increased vacation plans. 

Child Tax Credit payments help parents cover expenses

Around 35 million eligible families received up to $300 for each child under age six and up to $250 for each child ages six to 17 in July, August, and September according to the IRS. While four in ten families reported using the payments to primarily pay off debts, the number of households using the monthly payments to cover expenses increased from 27 percent to 33 percent over that period.

In late August and early Septemberas children began going back to school almost a third of families reported using their payments to pay for school-related expenses.

Hope in 2022 for Dems' proposals left on the cutting floor?

As proposals for President Biden's Build Back Better agenda get cut back or dropped from the sweeping Democrat-only spending bill taking shape in Congress there is talk of putting them in another go-it-alone bill next year. One popular measure, the expansion of Medicare to include dental, hearing and vision coverage, would be key to putting lawmakers, and especially Republicans, on the spot in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections.

Although some in the Democratic party see it as good politics not all members of the party are convinced but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the idea "is not excluded."

Democrats closing in on "care economy" spending bill

Democrats have been negotiating a sweeping spending bill to compliment the $1.9 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate in August to fulfil President Biden's vision for his Build Back Better proposals. The infrastructure bill has been awaiting a vote in the House pending resolution of those negotiations. 

In the past couple weeks leaders in the party have made headway to overcome objections from two Senators whose votes are vital to getting the legislation passed in an evenly split Senate. Now, according to Representative Henry Cuellar, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that the spending proposal is 90 percent complete.


What is on a Social Security Statement and how do I get mine?

Social Security is the most widely-used form of federal financial support in the United States and is vital to ensuring that retirees and people with disabilities are able to get by. However each individual's exact Social Security entitlement is dependent on a range of factors, from their age and employment history to their marital status and family size.

The Social Security Administration offers beneficiaries the chance to check out their potential entitlement and access tailored advice before claiming their payments.

Billionaire tax could be new wrench in the works for Dems' spending bill

Democratic leaders have been talking up the progress being made to bring to fruition legislation that would enact at least part of President Biden's Build Back Better plan. Over the past few weeks the sweeping spending proposal has been whittled down but little is known of the exact details agreed upon.

President Biden gave some insight to where the negotiations stand in candid remarks at a Town Hall last week admitting what has been pulled out but not what is still in.

There still remains the issue of how to pay for the "care economy" bill with resistance from Senator Kyrsten Sinema to some of the tax increases already proposed. One idea from the Senate is to create a billionaires tax, but that is drawing ire and colorful language from House Democrats.

With the clock ticking down, Democrats want to pass the infrastructure bill before the end of the week, there are fears that the proposal is too complex and will drag out negotiation on the Build Back Better bill. As well there are complaints that the proposal isn't clearly defined. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said of the proposal "We want to see the text."


Fourth stimulus check: When did the negotiations take place?

In April and May, nearly one hundred Democratic lawmakers advocated and called on their legislative bodies to pass a fourth stimulus check. To many, it seemed that momentum was growing, and then suddenly lawmakers fell silent.

So, as Congress continues to discuss the Child Tax Credit, Medicare expansion and a whole host of other programmes, what has happened to the fourth stimuus check discussions?

Read more

How can I sign up for the Child Tax Credit monthly payments?

Four of the six monthly payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit have already been sent out, but that does not mean it is too late to claim the financial support. You have until 15 November to provide your informaiton to the IRS to trigger payment of the Child Tax Credit in next month's payment run. 

You can sign up using the link below...


California stimulus checks could arrive before 31 October: how many payments are left?

Last week the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) confirmed that the next wave of Golden State stimulus checks would soon be distributed to eligible residents. The agency is aiming to get most of the direct payments sent out by the end of the month but some, particularly those awaiting a paper stimulus check, may have to wait until the end of the year. 

Read more

Manchin gives hints on Medicare expansion

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin holds a particularly crucial position in the evenly-divided Senate, with President Biden unable to lose the vote of even a single caucus member in the Upper House ifhe is to push through his BUild Back Better proposals. Manchin, however, is a far cry from the progressive elements in the Democratic Party and is skeptical about expanding Medicare to include hearing, vision and dental, as others have proposed. 

"Many other developed countries have had child allowances that recognize that parents and families have particular financial obligations to raise children."

"We know that kids who grew up in homes with more income are healthier, that they do better in school, that they earn more as adults."

Kris Cox, Deputy director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Is the Medigap plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan better? differences between them

Medicare provides reduced rate healthcare insurance for tens of millions of Americans every year, and is frequently the only source of coverage for elderly or disadvantage individuals. Medicare members have two options to supplement their basic coverage to include more services and reduce costs: Medigap and Medicare Advantage, we take a look at the difference between the two supplementary programmes...

Read more


Fourth Stimulus Check Update: what's the situation in every state?

While the White House and Congress continues to negotiate on the specifics of President Biden's huge, two-bill reconciliation proposals, there is a notable exception from the talks. Progressive in Congress appear to have given up on their hopes of a nation-wide fourth stimulus check in this round of support, but a number of states are offering their own alternatives. 

This exhaustive guide breaks down the stimulus checks, direct payments and other forms of financial relief available in each state at the moment...

Read more

Harris calls for Child Tax Credit extension

In a public address advocating for President Biden's Build Back Better legislative proposals, VP Kamala Harris has reiterated the benefits that the expanded Child Tax Credit does for tens of millions of American families. 

Democrats push for stimulus bill resolution

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told State of the Union host Jake Tapper that Democrats "pretty much have a deal" on the go-it-alone spending proposal to invest in families and fight climate change. Failure to pass that bill has been holding up the bipartisn infrastructure bill awaiting a vote in the House.

The infrastructure bill needs to be passed to inject cash in the Highway Fund before it runs out of money 31 October. Speaker Pelosi told Tapper that the "plan" for this week is to have an "agreement" on the Democrat-only bill and vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Child Tax Credit will not discourage workers, study finds

A study has shown that the vast majority of eligible parents would continue to work, even if the Child Tax Credit monthly payments are extended, or even made permanent. The Democrats are trying to pass a bill that would include extending the programme through 2025 but Sen. Joe Manchin, a key moderate in the party's caucus, has insisted that a 'work requirement' clause be included to disuade recipients from opting to leave the workplace. 


$2000 stimulus check for every American: how many people support the proposal? can it happen?

The government has sent out three rounds of stimulus checks so far, and ideas for continued aid to struggling households across the nation similar to Bonin’s have been floated by lawmakers.

One petition, calling for recurring monthly stimulus checks throughout the pandemic, is approaching its stated goal of three million signatures and Democrats are believed to be getting closer to a deal for President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. However no new stimulus payments look set to be in the cards despite the covid-19 pandemic and the damage it’s done being far from over.

Read more

VP Harris reiterates support for Child Tax Credit extension

Vice President Kamala Harris confirmed that the Biden administration will continue to push for an extension to the Child Tax Credit expansion in ongoing Congressional negotiations. The White House has been on a charm offensive in recent months to push the benefits of the programme, but now all Democrats in the Senate are in support of an extension through 2025. 

Sen. Sanders insists on Medicare expansion

The scope of President Biden's two-bill, $3.5 trillion Build Back Better legislative proposal is such that it covers everything from green energy policies to a Child Tax Credit expansion, and senior Democrats are intent on using the package to provide greater funding for Medicare. Sen. Bernie Sanders is determined to ensure that the proposed Medicare expansion, to include dental, hearing and vision, remains in the bill. 


How many Golden State stimulus checks have been sent?

Earlier this month the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) sent out another round of stimulus checks for California residents, as part of the $100 billion California Comeback Plan.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's stimulus package was designed to rejuvenate a California economy that had been ravaged by covid-19, with the state’s hugely lucrative hospitality and tourism sectors devastated by the pandemic restrictions. Here's how that effort is going so far...

Read more

Will Congress extend the Child Tax Credit?

Discussions in Congress been ongoing in recent weeks, but it seems like President Biden will have to settle for a watered-down version of his proposed Child Tax Credit extension. Bidan had initially wanted to see the monthly direct payments extended through 2025 but it appears that he will not have sufficient support for anything beyond one additional year of the expanded Child Tax Credit. 

Dems spending plan includes billionaire income tax proposal 

The ultra wealthy have seen their fortunes explode during the pandemic rising by 70 percent or around $2.1 trillion. One potential proposal to help pay for President Biden's plan to reinvest in American families is a tax provsion on billionaires proposed by Senator Ron Wyden.

Billionaires' tradable assets would be taxed while non-tradable assets would not until their sale. To prevent tax avoidance gains on those non-liquid assets would have an annual interest fee imposed on them that would be payable when they are sold.

Chuck Collins, author of “The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions” and director the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, makes the case for why such a tax would be a good idea.

Hello, good morning, and welcome to AS USA's dedicated fourth stimulus check live feed. We will be bringing you all the latest updates on the future of the federal spending bills currently being negotiated in Congress, including the proposed Child Tax Credit extension. 

There is also talk of a Medicare expansion, although key moderates like Sen. Sinema and Sen. Manchin appear determined to scupper talks.