Fourth stimulus check news summary| 21 November 2021

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Unemployment benefits in California: who can get them back after being denied?

Around 100,000 Californians who were previously denied unemployment benefits through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program may now be retroactively eligible. The California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced expanded eligibility for the PUA program whereby those workers could potentially obtain those weeks of benefits not received.

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How much of the Build Back Better Bill will get through the Senate?

After months of negotiations, the House passed legislation based on President Biden's Build Back Better vision. The White House didn't get everything the President had called for but the bill will still include some priorities for the administration.

Measures to combat climate change were watered down but their are incentives to reduce US carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Families still struggling in the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic could see 12 more payments of the enhanced Child Tax Credit, but not the additional four years desired.

At the last minute, paid family leave which had been stripped out of the bill was put back in. Biden originally called for 12 weeks but that amount was whittled down to just four weeks. That measure though could face stiff opposition in the Senate from Joe Manchin who has said he is against including the proposal.

Democrats in the House have passed legislation for President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. The bill will now move on to the Senate for consideration in the upper chamber. One measure missing from the “care economy” proposals is a fourth nationwide stimulus check.

Recent data show that there has been a strong improvement in hardship experienced by US households since December 2020 accelerated by the $1,400 stimulus checks in March and the advance Child Tax Credit payments which began in July. Yet, millions of Americans are still struggling to cover regular expenses, put food on the table and pay rent which has led to calls for further stimulus checks.

Some states have taken up the calland sent some of their residents an economic booster.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Which states will keep offering stimulus checks or financial aid in December 2021?

Democrats in the House have passed legislation for President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. The bill will now move on to the Senate for consideration in the upper chamber. One measure missing from the “care economy” proposals is a fourth nationwide stimulus check.

Recent data show that there has been a strong improvement in hardship experienced by US households since December 2020 accelerated by the $1,400 stimulus checks in March and the advance Child Tax Credit payments which began in July. Yet, millions of Americans are still struggling to cover regular expenses, put food on the table and pay rent which has led to calls for further stimulus checks.

Some states have taken up the calland sent some of their residents an economic booster.

President Biden despite two major legislative victories so far, he is hurting in the polls as of late. David Brooks, opinion columnist for the New York Times, writes that "If presidencies were judged by short-term popularity, the Biden effort would look pretty bad. But that’s a terrible measure."

Brooks argues that the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill are directing money to where is needs to go, the America that is getting left behind. Should the Build Back Better Bill pass the Senate, Biden's plan for investing in human infrastructure, it would go even further toward creating "a more equal, more just and more united society," bridging the gap between the divided US populous. 

Despite doing what needs to be done, Democrats will most likely get hammered at the polls next year no matter what. In happens time and again to first-term presidents, especially if they are successful. Extending the ehnacements to the Child Tax Credit for one year just to lower the price tag of the Build Back Better Bill is a mistake in Brooks' opinion, next year in all likelihood Democrats won't have the power to extend it again, nor make it permanent as has been proposed, despite enacting some "fantastic policies."

CNN's Fareed Zakaria breakdown why the bipartisan infrastructure bill is so important and long overdue. Beginning in the 1970s the US began spending less on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP, coming down from over one percent to around 0.7 percent. This was also when the US began regular deficit spending focuses on the now and not investing in the future.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill will raise that amount to around 1.3 percent of GDP before additional private sector investments. This will aid in upgrading logistical routes, speeding up the transportation of goods. As well as reduce the amount of energy lost on the electrical grid, equivalent to 200 coal power plants and treated water from pipes breaking, equivalent to 6 billion gallons a day.

Hiring now

Which states saw the highest increase in workers quitting?

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor reported that more than 4 million workers across the US quit their jobs. However, some states saw far more quits that others.

States with the highest increase in quits from August to September

1. Hawaii (+3.8 percentage points)

2. Montana (+1.5 points)

3. Nevada (+1.1 points)

4. New Hampshire (+1.1 points)

Read more.

Image: AFP/JOE RAEDLE

On his new show, The Problem with Jon Stewart, the commedian sat down with US Tresury Secretary to talk about how the Federal Reserve and government agencies could support ordinary families.

With supply chain issues and other factors leading to a rapid increase in price, the 5.9 percent COLA for Social Security benefits cannot come fast enough. But, how much will the increase actually boost benefits? Read our coverage to find out.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Social Security COLA 2022: how much is the increase on benefits?

With supply chain issues and other factors leading to a rapid increase in price, the 5.9 percent COLA for Social Security benefits cannot come fast enough. But, how much will the increase actually boost benefits? Read our coverage to find out.

Which states have the highest levels of unemployment?

The BLS has released the state-level unemployment data for October which shows that "in 28 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 22 states." No states saw increases.

Which states had the highest unemployment rates?

At 7.3 percent, California and Nevada recorded the highest rates in the country. However, with more than 811,200 jobs added, California has seen the highest amount of job growth over the last year. And Nevada, has seen the second  largest over-the-year jobless rate decrease" of -4.7 percentage points.

Which had the lowest?

Nebraska, with 1.9% and Utah with 2.2%, recorded the lowest unemployment rates in October.

Read the full report.

Federal spending on children increased during the pandemic

The Urban Institute dives into how the pandemic increased the amount of money the federal government spent on children. Primarily, this came through the expansion of the child tax credit, which was altered under the American Rescue Plan to eliminate income requirements for eligibility.

Around 11 million children in the US live in poverty, which represents around a third of poor people in the country. Researchers "estimate that pandemic response legislation enacted by May 2021 added more than $600 billion to projected spending on children between 2020 and 2027." Read more.

How much do states spend on education?

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2019 the average per student (pre-K to 12th grade) spending was $13,187. The majority, around 57 percent, of costs were expended salaries for educators, support staff, and administrators.

Over the last year the Consumer Price Index has increased 6.2%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data showing "6.2 percent from October 2020 to October 2021, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1990." Across, the economy the price of everyday goods are increasing, including "energy (gasoline and utilities) prices rose 30.0 percent over the last 12 months, and the food index increased 5.3 percent."

Researchers with the Senior Citizens League have found that costs for seniors have outpaced COLA increase. While over the last twenty-one years, "COLAs have raised Social Security benefits by 55 percent," the costs for housing and healthcare increased 118 and 145 percent, respectively.

For this reason, the organization is calling on Congress to send a $1,400 stimulus check to those on Social Security. Read more on the chances.

US NEWS

Will Social Security beneficiaries get a fourth stimulus check?

Researchers with the Senior Citizens League have found that costs for seniors have outpaced COLA increase. While over the last twenty-one years, "COLAs have raised Social Security benefits by 55 percent," the costs for housing and healthcare increased 118 and 145 percent, respectively.

For this reason, the organization is calling on Congress to send a $1,400 stimulus check to those on Social Security. Read more on the chances.

National Guard steps up to fill labor gaps?

The labor market in the United States is facing an onset of conditions that have not been seen in history. Vaccine mandates, supply chain issues, and workers looking for higher pay, many jobs are going unfilled. The national guard is stepping in to drive school buses, and provide supply chain logistics support. Could this be a long term solution?

When will the next payment of the child tax credit be made?

The last payment of 2021 will be made on 15 December, just before the holidays. Those who did not enroll by the 15 November deadline will have to wait for tax filing season to receive their payments worth $3,600 for each child under six, and $3,000 for each child between six and seventeen.

Will Speaker Pelosi be able to save the 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.

Families are hoping that the pandemic situation will allow them to have a "normal holiday season" after many were not able to gather last year. However, the rapid increases in prices is putting a dent in many plans, especially for low-income households.

The price of a turkey is twenty-four percent higher than this time last year, and many food banks are seeing a decline in donations. With many feeling the financial pressure from inflation, calls to Congress to pass an additional stimulus check are growing. Read more.

Stimulus Check

Can a fourth stimulus check payment happen before December 2021?

Families are hoping that the pandemic situation will allow them to have a "normal holiday season" after many were not able to gather last year. However, the rapid increases in prices is putting a dent in many plans, especially for low-income households.

The price of a turkey is twenty-four percent higher than this time last year, and many food banks are seeing a decline in donations. With many feeling the financial pressure from inflation, calls to Congress to pass an additional stimulus check are growing. Read more.

Good morning and welcome to the AS USA coverage for 21 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 as leaders hit the Sunday shows to talk about the chances of Congress passing a fourth stimulus check, expanding the Child Tax Credit, and changes to Medicare and Social Security in 2022.

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