Fourth stimulus check news summary| 20 November 2021

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Headlines

- The holidays are approaching, prices are on the rise, and many hope the government will send a fourth stimulus check in December.

- As inflation soars, the Senior Citizens League continue pushing for a $1,400 stimulus check

- IRS announcesnew maximum contributions to 401(k)retirement accounts for 2022.

- House vote on Build Back Better passed on Friday morning

- The premium for Medicare Part B will increase nearly 15 percent in 2022

- Maine begins distributing a $285 stimulus checks

- Social Security 5.9% COLA increase will hit checks in January 2022.

- More Californians begin receive Golden State stimulus checks: how to track yours.

Useful information & Links

Child Tax Credit

- Deadline passed to enroll in advance Child Tax Credit payment scheme.

- Households who did not receive payments from July to November 2021 will need to wait to claim credit on 2021 tax returns

Stimulus checks

- Maine offers $285 surprise stimulus check to half a million residents.

- Could a fourth stimulus check be approved in November 2021?

- Which states are sending out their own payments?

Social Security

What is the maximum 401k contribution for 2022 according to the IRS?

- When will the Social Security increase for 2022 begin?

- How will the prices of Medicare change in 2022?

Latest articles:

During World War II record numbers of women joined the workforce. In order to enable those "Rosie the Riveters" to take up jobs to help in the war effort the US government funded child care programs across the nation as part of war-related infrstructure projects. Anaylsis of those programs showed that it not only increased employment for women but also had positive impacts of the children that received the childcare.

The Build Back Better Bill that Democrats want to pass before the end of the year includes universal Pre-K and childcare subsidies that will help families struggling to juggle work and making sure their children are looked after while their on the job. However there is a risk that many childcare providers might go under before the legislation clears the Senate.

The industry was hit particularly hard by the pandemic which pushed up costs erasing already thin margins for many operators.

Thanks for the gift of infrastructure

Today is President Biden's 79th birthday and former President Obama took the opportunity of his birthday wishes to recognize the enacting of the largest infrastrucutre investment in the US in nearly 70 years.

A stitch in time saves nine

The thing about disaster is that once it's at our doorstep, it's too late to prepare. 

That's why investments in resilient structures like the ones in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are so vital. They give our neighborhoods a fighting chance against climate-charged storms.

Adrianne Todman, Deputy Secretary Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Pelosi key to salvaging Build Back Better Bill

Democrats in the House passed a historic spending bill on Friday based on President Biden's Build Back Better proposals. After months of frought negotiations that saw an initial $6 trillion mooted by Senator Bernie Sanders dropped to $3.5 trillion and then whittled down to half that sum. 

The Senate will now consider a bill in the ballpark of $2 trillion. The piece of legislation will still have to get past objections from Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema who were the driving forces behind the price reductions.

Getting the bill through the lower chamber was no easy task, with members of the Democratic party tying the fate of bipartisan indrastructure bill to that of the Build Back Better Bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with the New York Times about how she worked with both Senators to keep the bill palatable for members of her caucus in the House.

Democrats spending bill to spur "Green Industrial Revolution"

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is touting the economic benefits of the President Biden's Build Back Better legislation. The nearly $2 trillion bill that the House sent to the Senate on Friday includes measures designed to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and in the words of Schumer will spark a "Green Industrial Revolution."

Build Back Better Bill, what's in it?

Democrats in the House passed the Build Back Better Bill they've spent the past few months haggling over. It now heads to the Senate where lawmakers in the upper chamber will parse the measures approved in the House making tweaks to the sweeping $1.75 trillion social and climate spending proposals championed by President Biden.

The bill includes a number of measures to help families including an extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit, universal pre-K education, paid family leave and much more. 

Democrats include SALT deduction in Build Back Better Bill

The State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction was included in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed under President Trump, limited the amount of money people would have to pay in state and local taxes. The Democrats, who seemed to oppose the deduction then, have included it into the reconciliation Build Back Better Bill with a few changes. One, rather than a $10,000 limit, it will be increased to $80,000. Progressive members of the Democratic caucus have blasted the measure as it gives benefits to the top twenty percent of earners.

The Urban Institute, look at what would happen "if Congress allows the full SALT deduction for those making less than $400,000 and gradually restores the $10,000 cap for those making between $400,000 and $500,000 of adjusted gross income (AGI)?" Researchers found that around "88 percent of the benefit would go to the top 20 percent and 41 percent would go to the top 5 percent." Read more.

Unemploymnet in metro areas down across the country

Over the year, ending in September 2021, all 51 metro areas in the US saw decreases in unemployment. The largest decreases, 8%,  were seen in Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada. The smallest decreases, "occurred in Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland (−1.3 percentage points)."

Congressional Budget Office says reconciliation bill could add to the deficit

The CBO has released a preliminary budget analysis of the Build Back Better Act, or reconciliation bill as it was being referred to up until recently. The organization said that the package could add $367 billion to the national debt, but that does not account for the funds that could be recovered through the provisions to tackle tax evasion.

The federal government believes that more than a trillion dollars a year are lost to tax evasion, and through building up the US treasury and its under-agencies ability to go after this practice, much more than $300 billion could be added to the government's revenue.

Since March 2021, after the third stimulus check was sent, personal income has fallen from $24.1 billion to $20.4 billion in September. Nearly 30 percent of American adults still had trouble paying usual household expenses as of early October as the harm to the economy and livelihoods from the covid-19 pandemic continues.

Many are continue to push for a fourth stimulus check, but chances are not favorable. For more on why, read our full coverage.

Stimulus Check

Can a fourth stimulus check payment happen before December 2021?

Since March 2021, after the third stimulus check was sent, personal income has fallen from $24.1 billion to $20.4 billion in September. Nearly 30 percent of American adults still had trouble paying usual household expenses as of early October as the harm to the economy and livelihoods from the covid-19 pandemic continues.

Many are continue to push for a fourth stimulus check, but chances are not favorable. For more on why, read our full coverage.

Supply issues and inflation are facing shortages as the holiday season approaches

With inflation and supply chain issues leading to increases in the prices of food, many food banks across the country are reporting a decrease in donations. Typically the holiday season sees one of the largest increases in donations which has many organization leaders worried.

CNBC reports that the price of a Thanksgiving meal will be more expenseive this year comapared to last, with the price of the turkey alone increasing more than 24 percent.

Prices across the country are reaching record highs, and for those on a fixed income like Social Security, they are seeing rapid decreases in their purchasing power. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that since October 2020, consumers are paying on average 6.2 percent more across the market. Prices for food are up 5.3 percent, while energy costs are up more than thirty.

Earlier this fall, the Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan advocacy group, started a pressure campaign to push Congress to send those receiving Social Security additional stimulus money. In a letter to leaders of Congress, TSCL Chairman Rick Delaney called for a one-off $1,400 Social Security stimulus payment for seniors.Read more.

US NEWS

Will Social Security beneficiaries get a fourth stimulus check?

Prices across the country are reaching record highs, and for those on a fixed income like Social Security, they are seeing rapid decreases in their purchasing power. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that since October 2020, consumers are paying on average 6.2 percent more across the market. Prices for food are up 5.3 percent, while energy costs are up more than thirty.

Earlier this fall, the Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a non-partisan advocacy group, started a pressure campaign to push Congress to send those receiving Social Security additional stimulus money. In a letter to leaders of Congress, TSCL Chairman Rick Delaney called for a one-off $1,400 Social Security stimulus payment for seniors.Read more.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that there are 13.6 million women and girls living in a house where more than fifty-percent of the income is spent on rent.

Most financial experts advise that no more than twenty-five percent of ones income is spent on rent in a given month. There are many serious side effects associated with lacking access to "safe, stable, accessible, and affordable housing." Researchers are encouraging the government to enact a housing voucher program which have shown to be "highly effective at keeping people with low incomes, including women, stably housed. Vouchers typically help families rent, in the private market, a modest unit they choose in the neighborhood they choose."

If Congress were willing to purse a program of this nature, "would lift 5 million women and girls above the federal poverty line, one study estimated, cutting this group’s poverty rate by 22 percent."

How much does it cost to raise a child in the United States?

The Department of Agriculture has released new data showing that in the US, it costs a two parent middle class family $12,980 each year to raise a child. The new structure of the child tax credit has helped families cover some of those costs since July of this year, reports Humanity Forward.

The 2021 annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees makes worrying reading for the roughly 70 million people who currently receive payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The report warns that the trust funds which disburse payments for the various SSA programmes are due to be depleted by 2034; one year earlier than previously thought. Read more.

Social Security

When does COLA 2022 take effect in Social Security Benefits? How to calculate your amount

The 2021 annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees makes worrying reading for the roughly 70 million people who currently receive payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The report warns that the trust funds which disburse payments for the various SSA programmes are due to be depleted by 2034; one year earlier than previously thought. Read more.

Prices up 6.2% since last October

The BLS has released the Consumer Price Index data for October and the results are alarming. Some of the quickest increases have been seen in the energy (30%) and food (5.3%) sectors.

The increases represent the largest bump in prices in thirty years with many economits predicitng the trend will continue.

House Passes the Build Back Better Act

Early Friday, the House passed the Build Back Better Act which would extend the child tax credit through 2022, help in the fight to combat climate chance, and provide universal pre-k in the United States.

Build Back Better won't increase deficit, Psaki insists

In a press briefing today, White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden’s claim that his Build Back Better plan will not increase the deficit in the US, telling reporters: “Uh, it is true.”

The 5.9 percent COLA increase is the highest in more than four decades. Inflation and other factors brought on by the pandemic led to the historic increase in benefits and will help seniors and those with disabilities increase their purchasing power. 

However, much of this increase is likely to be offset by similar rises in costs of goods and Medicare.

So when you can expect the increase and how much you could receive?

Social Security

When does COLA 2022 take effect in Social Security Benefits? How to calculate your amount

The 5.9 percent COLA increase is the highest in more than four decades. Inflation and other factors brought on by the pandemic led to the historic increase in benefits and will help seniors and those with disabilities increase their purchasing power. 

However, much of this increase is likely to be offset by similar rises in costs of goods and Medicare.

So when you can expect the increase and how much you could receive?

"Not a single House Republican voted for quality, affordable child care. Or universal pre-k. Or paid leave. Or lower prescription prices. Or making giant corporations pay a fair share. They’re on the side of the rich and powerful. Democrats are fighting for working people".

Elizabeth Warren , Senator

Good morning and welcome to the AS USA coverage for 20 November on the ongoing Congressional wrangling over the fate of President Biden's Build Back Better proposals.

My name is Maite and I will also bring you all the latest updates on a chances of Congress passing a fourth stimulus check, expending the Child Tax Credit, and changes to Medicare and Social Security in 2022.