Fourth stimulus news summary | 7 November 2021

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COMMENT
Fourth stimulus check live updates: bipartisan infrastructure bill, California stimulus, Social Security 2022, Child Tax Credit...

Headlines

- House passesbipartisan infrastructure bill  without Build Back Better bill Friday night, now it heads to President Biden's desk to be signed

- Most commonreasons for delays in Social Security payments

- Many in California push for a third round of Golden State stimulus checks

- Social Security tax maximumsfor 2022 announced 

- US added more than half a million jobs in October, surpassing projections for the first time in months

Useful information & Links

Child Tax Credit

- Next round of Child Tax Credit payments will go out on 15 November

Stimulus checks

- Fourth stimulus check: the situation in every US state

- How do the October job numbers impact chances for a fourth stimulus check

- Will a new stimulus checkhappen in November 2021?

Medicare

- Open enrollment continues through 7 December

- What are the differences between Medigap and Medicare Advantage: the lowdown

- Seniors should be aware that opting out of Medicare at 65 can come with a serious cost.

Social Security

What days and time do Social Security checks get deposited?

- Calculating your Social Security benefits

- The Social Security COLA increase will go into effect on 30 December 2021.

House budget bill is tax break for trial lawyers

A piece in the WSJ this morning points to the House Democrats’ 2,100-page budget bill being chock full of goodies for liberal special interests, and one of the worst is a tax break for their dear friends in the plaintiffs bar. While raising taxes on businesses, Democrats want to subsidize more frivolous lawsuits against business.

The IRS generally bars lawyers working on contingency-fee cases from deducting expenses such as depositions, expert testimony and discovery until a case resolves. In contingency-fee arrangements, attorneys front the costs of a lawsuit in return for some share—usually 30% to 40%—of the client’s eventual settlement or award. 

Rep. Jayapal hopes reconciliation bill vote before Thanksgiving

With the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill on the way to President Biden's desk for signing, the Chairwomen on the Progressive Caucus speaks on the Sunday shows on when she expects the reconciliation bill to passed. 

SOCIAL SECURITY

How much will SSI pay in 2022 per month and per year?

Interested in learning when your Supplemental Security Income payments will be made and how much they will increase next year? Read our full coverage. 

Progressives warn about electoral effects should Democrats break promise to voters

This week, Democrats got a glimpse into what could happen should they not be able to make good on the campaign promises that led to their victory in 2020. With Dems losing the governorship in Virginia and scrapping out a win in New Jersey, the 2022 Mid-Terms are a top concern for many in the party.

After election day, Democratic leadership pressured members to approve the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill, which would invest $500 in the nations road and transit sysems. However, with Progressives losing all of their leverage, the odds of the reconciliation bill being brought to a vote seem to be dwindling. AOC tweeted out a warning to party leadership should the Dems not be able to make good on their promises to voters.

The BLS reports that in the next nine years the "labor force is expected to increase by 8.9 million, or 5.5 percent." After a decline in labor participation among those older than 75, over the next decade, the "the labor force is expected to grow by 96.5 percent for this age group."

Biden speaks about the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill

From Glasgow, President Biden celebrated the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure package.

Compare Medicare plans before open enrollment ends

Medicare open enrollment started on 15 October and those eligible will have until 7 December to select a Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan.

Medicare.gov provides a handy comparison tool so that you can find the one that works best for you.

Solution to hiring woes for low wage jobs

The hospitality industry over the past several months has had diffculty finding staff to attend to customers, man the registers and kitchens. Miso Robotics may have found a solution for them with Flippy, a french-fry making robot.

A Chicago-area White Castle has been experimenting with the technology since last year, and the company plans to roll out 10 more. Other restaurant chains are experimenting with the technology and automating other tasks.

But will this mean a mass layoff of low wage workers? The robots creators and company officials don't think so, saying that it will free up employee to dedicate more time to the customer experience.

Billionaire tax architect dismisses Elon Musk twitter poll to sell stock

Senator Ron Wyden ahs been the driving force behind getting billionaires to pay their fair share of taxes. Recent ProPublica articles have delved into tax returns of thousands of ultra-wealthy Americans showing that they received tax credits reserved for taxpayers with modest incomes, including 18 billionaires that received $1,200 stimulus checks last year. The lncome limit to receive the full amount was set at an adjuted gross income of $75,000.

On Saturday Elon Musk asked his online followers if he should sell 10 percent of his stock so that he could pay tax saying "Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

Wyden has called for billionaires' stock holdings to be taxed when their value increases, even if the shares aren't sold a concept know as “unrealised gains”.

Child Tax Credit a lifeline for recipients

Four months ago the IRS began sending eligible households with children a monthly booster to families. The Child Tax Credit enhanced for the 2021 fiscal year under the American Rescue Plan was increased to $3,600 for each child under six and $3,000 per child age six to 17. Half the credit is being sent this year in six equal installments, the remainder will be collectable on tax returns filed next year.

The Anchorage Daily News shares the story of one resident who was able to get back to work and provide for her family thanks to the new program.

Proud to vote for infrastructure bill

Farm Bureau, Cattlemen, Manufacturers, Equipment Distributors, Building Trades, local business leaders… not many progressives in that group. 70% of #NE02 support the infrastructure bill… and I’ll be a big no on the Bernie Reconciliation Bill when we vote in a week.

Rep Don Beacon (Republican), responding to criticism that the only "thank yous" he is getting are from progressives

We wanna be looking back on this moment 50 years from now and say this is when America truly became competitive for the 21st century and so the work begins right away, it will go on through years to come and set us up for the decades that follow.

Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary

GOP lawmakers that helped pass long overdue infrastructure investment criticized

The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed on Friday was negotiated between President Biden and a bipartisan group of 21 senators. The legislation passed the upper chamber with a 69-30 vote which was an acheivement in its own right in a highly partisan Washington.

However since August it has been awaiting a vote in the House so that Biden could sign it. This was due to progressives using the bill as leverage to make sure the Build Back Better bill also got through Congress. The worry now is that an already pruned down bill with be further whittled away at nullifying the sweeping changes it could bring. 

Thirteen GOP representatives crossed the aisle to help get the much needed infrastructure investment past the the hurdle presented by holdout  progressives. Now they are receiving backlash from members of their party in the House.

Passing a major infrastructure bill has eluded previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. President Biden speaking Saturday alluded to the joke "Infrastructure Week" had become under he predecessor. The last major infrastructure investment on this scale was under President Eisenhower when the interstate highway system was created.

More money to increase Child Tax Credit enrollment

Lydia DePillis from ProPublica is digging through the 2,135 pages of the Build Back Better bill which was supposed to pass in tandem with the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The latter finally got a vote and passed the House on Friday despite resistance from progressives. Biden will sign it next week and hopes to have the Build Back Better bill passed by 15 November.

DePillis shares that in the Build Back Better legislation, as it is, would direct $4 billion to aid in the administration of the Child Tax Credit and promoting enrollment. Sending out the payments hasn't been without its glitches with payments going missing due to technical errors.

More worrying is that families that are eligible for the program are not enrolled. A recent Tax Policy Center study of US Census Bureau data found that only 57 percent of households with children under age 18 reported receiving a CTC payment in the last four weeks between July and September 2021.

Some of this may be down to families opting out, but the greater concern is that families that could most use the financial help are unaware or having diffculty signing up for the program. In the same census data 53 percent of households with income under $25,000 reported not receiving the monthly credit.

"This $1 trillion investment in infrastructure will reach all communities, both big and small, creating a stronger economy that lifts up workers and families. It will mean: – Clean drinking water for all – Largest-ever investment in transit – Two million new good-paying jobs– Funds to repair crumbling roads & bridges – Broadband access for students & rural communities – Green energy infrastructure investments – And much more And it's just our first act. We're committed to passing the Build Back Better agenda to complete the investments in people.

Adam Schiff, Rep. California's 28th Congressional District

Stimulus Check

Will a new stimulus check happen in November 2021?

The Democrats have nearly finished negotiations for their Build Back Better agenda - does another stimulus check make the cut?

Read more here

"This progressive infrastructure package is more about the Green New Deal than roads and bridges. With Democrats’ endless spending, runaway inflation, and an unsustainable debt, this bill is a fiscal train wreck".

Jodey Arrington, US Rep. for Texas's 19th congressional district

Manchin cheers bipartisan infrastructure bill

Senator Joe Manchin praised the bipartisan infrastructure bill and outlined how it would help West Virginia. On Twitter, Manchin explained how the $1 trillion bill "represents an historic investment in West Virginia’s infrastructure – around $6 billion over the next 5 years".

 

US jobs figures for October stoke optimism

US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh gave an update on the labor market which saw an upturn last month. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 531,000 jobs during October, and the unemployment rate was 4.6%, down from 4.8% in September. A total of 5.6 million jobs have been added since Joe Biden took office and an average of 620,000 jobs per month. October growth was strong across the private sector, with especially significant gains in manufacturing, business services, leisure and hospitality and the care economy.

Kentucky

Congress gives Biden long-needed jolt of good news with infrastructure vote

With this week's election results in New Jersey and Virginia suggesting that voters are souring on Democrats, President Joe Biden badly needed a jolt of good news. And on Friday, he finally got a little.

The US House of Representatives, controlled by his Democrats, passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to repair the nation's airports, roads and bridges -- three months after the Senate -- sending the bill to Biden's desk for signature into law.

On top of that, a sweeping $1.75 trillion social-spending and climate bill that is a centerpiece of Biden's presidential campaign, passed a procedural hurdle in the House, though it remains unclear when it will get a final vote.

That came the same day the government reported a better-than-expected more than 500,000 jobs were added last month, suggesting the economic rebound is gathering pace.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq all hit a string of record high closes this week. But the White House has watched with concern as Biden’s approval ratings have dropped steadily amid the ongoing pandemic, higher inflation, a chaotic pullout from Afghanistan and months of bickering among Democrats in Congress over the infrastructure and social spending bills.

The alarm truly sounded this week when Republican Glenn Youngkin edged Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor of Virginia, a state that Biden won by 10 percentage points a year ago. In New Jersey, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy narrowly won reelection over Republican Jack Ciattarelli in a unexpectedly tight contest.

In both races, suburban and independent voters who were critical to Biden’s victory gravitated toward the Republicans, a warning sign ahead of next year’s midterm elections, when control of Congress will be at stake.

The White House has been eager for the infrastructure bill to clear the House since it passed the Senate in August with 19 Republicans voting along side 50 Democrats. It had been on hold in the House as progressives tied its fate to the social spending package.

Its passage comes at a propitious time for Biden. The current presidential approval tracking poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that about 48% of US adults approve of Biden’s performance, with respondents listing the economy as their top concern.

Polls continue to suggest that Americans are uncertain whether that bill will benefit them. In a poll released by Emerson College this week, 39% of respondents thought it will have a negative impact on their lives, while 34% said it will have a positive impact.

Several US billionaires received stimulus checks

A number of extremely wealthy Americans, including Ira Rennert, George Soros, Erik Prince, oil moguls and owners of professional sports teams, received stimulus checks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

ProPublica analysed IRS records to identify at least 18 billionaires and hundreds of millionaires who received stimulus payments after using complex accounting tools to show negative income.

Three rounds of stimulus checks were sent out by the IRS and US Treasury between April 2020 and April 2021.

Soros, who is worth an estimated $8.6 billion, received two of the three checks but sent his $2,400 back, as did his son Robert, his spokesman told ProPublica.

Pelosi says infrastructure bill will create "millions of jobs"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has released a statement regarding the successful passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure bill, which will be signed into law by President Biden over the next few days.

Pelosi's statement read:

“The American people sent President Biden to the White House and Democratic Majorities to Congress to deliver results that make their lives better.  Last night, by sending an historic and bipartisan infrastructure package to the President’s desk, that is exactly what we have done.

“I commend the President for his visionary and tireless leadership in securing the passage of this once-in-a-century infrastructure investment on a strong bipartisan vote.  This landmark legislation will create millions of good-paying American jobs and make a lasting difference in our communities: strengthening our roads and bridges, improving public transit, expanding broadband, ensuring clean drinking water for every child and more.  While our crumbling infrastructure has long held us back, these monumental investments will ensure America can out-compete any nation on earth for decades to come.

“This week, Democrats have taken a momentous step toward realizing our transformative agenda.  When the House returns, we will pass our Build Back Better Act to bring down the everyday costs that burden working parents – from health care to child care to paid leave to prescription drugs and more – while also securing one of the largest middle class tax cuts in history.  Together, our bills will forge the greatest progress for families in a generation.”

Biden: $1 trn infrastructure package is “a monumental step forward for the nation"

US President Joe Biden hailed the $1 trillion infrastructure package as “a monumental step forward" for the United States in an address to the nation. "And for all of you at home who feel left behind and forgotten, in an economy that's changing so rapidly, this bill is for you. The vast majority of jobs that will be created don't require a college degree. There will be jobs in every part of the country - red states, blue states, cities, small towns, rural communities, tribal communities... This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America".

Unemployment exemption made some taxpayers eligible for larger refund


The IRS recently sent out around 430,000 refunds to taxpayers who paid taxes on unemployment compensation excluded from income for tax year 2020. The exemption may have made some taxpayers who collected financial support through state or the enhanced federal pandemic unemployment benefits eligible to claim additional tax credits.

The agency will be sending letters to inform those taxpayers of their possible eligibility for the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax credit. Individuals who receive the letter will be required to contact the IRS to confirm eligibility. Those who already claimed the credit will not have to file an amended tax return. But those who did not claim those credits or others that they are now eligible for will need to file an amended return to get the additional refund money.

"My Corporate Minimum Tax says if you’re a corporation that banks more than $1 billion in profits, you should pay at least 15% tax. This will raise hundreds of billions to invest in child care, housing, health care & more. It'd also make our tax system fairer".

Elizabeth Warren, US Senator, Massachusetts

Lowest income families not receiving Child Tax Credit

The enhanced Child Tax Credit besides being a considerable tax break for the majority of households with children in the US, is seen as a tool for reducing childhoold poverty. However, only 47 percent of houeholds with children under 18 with income under $25,000 reported receiving the monthly payment during the previous four weeks according to data from the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey collected between July and September 2021. This is much lower than for households with incomes in all groups above $25,000.

'Finally, infrastructure week.'

President Biden will finally get the infrastructure bill negotiated by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. The legislation passed the Senate in August with a 69-30 vote but it had been languishing in the House since then. 

Progressives held back their votes for the bill wanting to make sure that a more expansive set of measures to tackle climate change and strengthen the social safety net in the Build Back Better plan proposed by Biden didn't get left on the wayside.

In the end House Speaker Pelosi managed to get the votes she needed with help from 13 Republicans in the lower chamber, more than enough to counter the remaining six progressive lawamkers that voted "No" during the late night vote on Friday.

US NEWS

What does the bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the house include?

Against the wishes of Progressive Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought the Bipartisan Infrastructure package to a vote in the House of Representatives.

The Progressive Caucus has argued that they would not vote on the package until the reconciliation bill was also introduced in the chamber. Despite the Progressive opposition, all Democrats voted to approve the bill. Additionally, thirteen Republican members voted with Democrats, separating from the common position of their party.

Read our full coverage for details on what the bill included.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Why can my Social Security direct deposit be late?

To ensure benefits are distributed in a timely manner, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends various batches throughout the month.

Payments are meant to enter people's accounts on Wednesdays. However, when your money reaches your account depends on the day you are born. Those born closer to the first of any given month will receive their benefits earlier, whereas those with later birthdays will see their payments deposited later. 

Read our full coverage for more information on benefit distribution and guidance on what to do if your benefits are delayed.

Hello and good morning! Throughout the day AS USA will be bringing you all the latest updates from Washington as the White House looks to find agreement on President Biden's huge reconciliation package proposals. 

We'll bring you news on the Child Tax Credit, Social Security increase, Medicare expansion and what hopes of a fourth stimulus check in the near future...

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