Fourth stimulus check news summary | 30 November 2021
- Some states offer a fourth stimulus check to residents.
- Social Security local offices remain closed.
- Senior Citizens League pushes for a $1,400 stimulus check for those on social security.
-Deductibles for Medicare Part A and B will increase more than ten percent in 2022.
- 5.9 percent COLA increase will mean larger checks, but how much will benefits actually increase?
Useful information & links
Child Tax Credit
Final payment of 2021 will be sent on 15 December.
- Maine offers $285 surprise stimulus check to half a million residents.
- How many social security paymentsremain for 2021?
- What is the maximum social security benefit for 2022?
Trump lumps in on Biden agenda
Former President Trump has urged Senate Republicans to use the federal debt limit as leverage to defeat President Biden’s social spending and climate bill.
In a statement, Trump berated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and insisted he should prevent Democrats from raising the federal debt ceiling by any means necessary.
“Old Crow Mitch McConnell, who is getting beaten on every front by the Radical Left Democrats since giving them a two-month delay which allowed them to 'get their act together,' must be fully prepared to use the DEBT CEILING in order to totally kill the Democrat’s new Social Spending (Wasting!) Bill, which will change our Country forever,” Trump said.
With days until the U.S. was expected to default, McConnell and 10 other GOP senators voted to break a filibuster on a bill to raise the debt ceiling by $480 billion. That vote allowed Democrats to pass the measure along party lines with a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Harris.
Time running out to fund the government
Lawmakers are back in Washington with less than a week to pass a spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown which would begin at the end of this week. With the President's Build Back Better agenda on the line, negocitaiotns are tense as Republicans have said they will not support the bill or an increase to the debt cieiling.
Rep. DeLauro continues fight for Child Tax Credit extension
Representative Rosa DeLauro fought for 18 years to make the Child Tax Credit do what its intending purpose was, to help working families. After being created in 1997 the full amount of tax provision was unaccesible to a third of all children because their parents didn't earn enough to claim the whole credit. Later changes imposed an earnings floor of $2,500 before a taxpayer could begin to claim the tax credit.
The American Rescue Plan did away with the earnings floor and greatly increased the value of the credit on top of making it fully refundable. Another major change was sending families the credit in advance as monthly payments much like stimulus checks. However the expansion was only for the 2021 fiscal year, but Democrats are working to extend the changes through 2022, although many would like to see the changes made permanent.
If that were to happen and all eligible families were signed up for the credit, it's been predicted that childhood poverty could be cut in half.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the data pertaining to the COLA adjustment for 2022. The figure, an increase of 5.9 percent, is the largest adjustment in years. The aim is to keep people who receive benefits above water as inflation continues to rise at a very fast rate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that since October 2020 consumers are on average paying 6.2 percent more for goods and services -- the largest increase in thirty years.
This means recipients will actually be receiving a net loss and the cost of goods will be rising faster than their benefits next year.
Reasons hope for more stimulus isn't gone
Neither the pandemic nor the economic damaged caused by it are over with a potentially concerning new variant Omicron discovered overseas. The fact that so many Americans still haven't gotten a covid-19 vaccine shot, and many not following recommendations to prevent infection, means that the virus will continue to spread through vulnerable populations causing continued disruptions to life and financial hardship. These are just a few of the reasons further economic assistance may be necessary down the road.
Could the Build Back Better agenda be passed in a fortnight?
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer is planning to bring President Biden's social spending and climate bill to the floor as soon as the week of December 13, a source familiar confirmed to The Hill.
"As soon as the necessary technical and procedural work with the Senate parliamentarian has been completed ... the Senate will take up this legislation," Schumer told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.
"Once that's complete, we're ready to move Build Back Better to the floor," Schumer added about the talks with the parliamentarian.
In October the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a massive 5.9% increase for beneficiaries, representing the largest year-on-year increase for nearly four decades.
Each year the agency issues a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) which is designed to reflect the gradual increase in prices and ensure that Social Security recipients are not out of pocket. The 5.9% boost will come into effect for payments issued in 2022.
It is the largest increase since a 7.4% boost in the early 1980s and far exceeds the 1.3% adjustment made for 2021. The unique economic circumstances of the pandemic and the huge amount of federal stimulus spending in the past 18 months have caused a period of high inflation and costs have increased accordingly.
Build Back Better and the Child Tax Credit
The House of Representatives passing President Biden's Build Back Better bill is a big step towards extending the expanded Child Tax Credit, albeit a potentially unfulfilled one. There is still much wrangling to be done in the Senate before the bill can be signed by the President.
One aspect of the bill that has been under constant flux is the Child Tax Credit. Originally planned to be extended until the end of 2025, negotiation with Democrat 'moderates' has reined it back in until the end of 2022. There has also been efforts to try and put limits on who can access it, such as needing to be working or preventing immigrants from receiving it.
Child Tax Credit gives huge boost for families
Around $77 billion has been sent out as part of the Child Tax Credit expansion which went live back in July, and already the benefits of the programme are clear to see.
Treasury Secretary Jennet Yellen said: "Families are using these funds for essential needs like food and, according to the Census Bureau, families with children saw food insecurity drop by 24%."
TSCL Chairman Rick Delaney has called for a special $1,400 stimulus check to those receiving Social Security benefits. Such a measure could help defray the costs associated for some seniors from the 2022 cost-of-living adjustment, which was the highest in 40 years.
Delaney wrote that the organization has heard from thousands of seniors “who have exhausted their retirement savings” and started “eating just one meal a day” or “cutting their pills in half because they can’t afford their prescription drugs.”
Child Tax Credit cuts food insecurity by a quarter
President Biden is desperately trying to secure the votes of the final two Democrats in the Senate to support his Build Back Better bill, and will have been delighted to see positive figures related to the Child Tax Credit in recent months. The first five months of the monthly payments saw food insecurity fall by 24% and the Build Back Better proposals include an additional year of the programme.
How much will you be getting from the Social Security Administration (SSA) next year? In October the details of the annual COLA increase was released, giving a recipients a massive 5.9% boost. The huge increase means that the maximum amount that can be claimed through Social Security has grown substantially...
WH vaccine mandate removed for certain Medicare/Medicaid workers
Medical experts have made clear that increasing vaccine uptake is the only way to move clear of the pandemic and return to normality but with many Americans opting not to do so, President Biden felt that mandates in certain industries were needed to protect the public. However ten Republican-led states have issued rulings meaning that federal workers employed by Medicare or Medicaid programmes will no longer be obliged to get a covid-19 shot.
Medicare annual enrollment period to end soon
For the tens of millions of people who are eligible to receive healthcare coverage from Medicare programmes, the annual enrollment window is the best time to register for insurance. You have little over a week left to take advantage of the 2021 enrollment window and could soon receive boosted Medicare support if the Build Back Better plan is passed in the coming days, bringing greater benefits for recipients.
Build Back Better could be on the floor in two weeks
President Biden is eager to see the Build Back Better bill passed before Christmas and hopes to begin rolling on the vast array of programmes in the new year, but has so far been held back by a couple of moderate Democrats in the Senate. The huge spending proposals would provide an extension to the Child Tax Credit monthly payments, boost Medicare provision and a whole host of other programmes, but still needs Senate approval.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly hopeful of getting the bill on the floor in the Upper House on the week of 13 December.
US Treasury steps in to support landlord and tenants
This week, the Department of the Treasury reported that in October the agency provided more than half a million tenants and landlords with rental assistance through their Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs. Through October, more than 2.5 million grants had been issued through the ERA programs.
The Department has made changes to the programs that allow them to get money to people in need much more quickly and they expect that by the end of this year they will have spent between $25 and $30 billion.
President Biden touts progress on the economic recovery
And this year, thanks to scientists, researchers, and doctors who developed the COVID-19 vaccines, and the nurses and other frontline workers who saw to it that it was administered — many of them your employees in your stores, who were able to have a very different Thanksgiving as a consequence of that than last Thanksgiving — reunited with friends and family and I think, maybe the most important, with a little more hope — a little more hope.
And fewer Americans were worried about putting food on the table. And hunger is actually down 40 percent this year in the United States of America.
4.5 million more Americans than last year had the dignity of a job.
What it also means is that as we’re looking toward the holiday season, we feel a lot more like the ones we had in the past.
Consumer spending has recovered to where it was headed before the pandemic. Early estimates are that Black Friday sales were up nearly a third since last year and in-store sales were up by nearly — by more — even more than that. I believe it was 40-some percent by –- I don’t have the number on top — I think it was 44 percent — something like that.
Which states have the highest insured unemployment rate?
The insured unemployment rate (IUR) is "computed by dividing Insured Unemployed* for the current quarter by Covered Employment** for the first four of the last six completed quarters."
The following states recorded the highest IUR for the week ending on 6 November:
1. Alaska (2.7)
2. District of Columbia (2.7)
3. Puerto Rico (2.7)
4. California (2.6)
5. New Jersey (2.5)
6. Hawaii (2.1)
7. Nevada (2.1)
8. Illinois (1.9)
9. New York (1.8).
* Insured Unemployment, "The average number of weeks claimed for the three months of the quarter."
**Covered Employment, "The number of employees covered by Unemployment Insurance reported to the states by employers."
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 our full coverage for more details on what prompted the organization to call for another direct payment and what the chances are that it is sent.
More than one in ten households have reported that they sometimes or often lack access to sufficient food. While, the Build Back Better Act passed by the House of Representatives includes some measures that could boost household income, there is still a quite of bit of uncertainty relating to whether it will become law or not. For that reason, many continue to call for the sending of a fourth federal stimulus check.
While Congress has been quite on the issue, some states have begun to send direct payments to their residents. Read our full coverage to see if yours is one of them.
Which sectors saw the highest rates of qutting?
In September, the food service and accommodations sector led the country in terms of the number of workers who quit their jobs. The BLS has reported that wages have only grown around 1.6 percent this year, while prices have increased more than six percent across the economy. Many low-wage workers have reported that higher pay is one of their main drivers for quitting as they feel with a hot labor market they will have a good chance at finding a job with better benefits.
Why does the government in the US shutdown?
The United States is one of the only countries in the world that can experience a government shutdown. This legal shortfall has extreamly catastrophic impacts. Vox took a look at what a government shutdown looks like for workers, especially contractors who do not receive back pay during a lapse in funding.
Should lawmakers not be able to come to an agreement over the debt cieiling in the next few weeks, another government shutdown could be in our future after one was narrowly avoided in September.
American consumer has bounced back, says Biden
President Biden on Monday met with 10 CEOs from major retailers and grocers to discuss the holiday shopping season, touting the success of last week's Black Friday sales.
“Consumer spending has recovered to where it was headed before the pandemic. Early estimates are that Black Friday sales were up nearly a third since last year and in-store sales were up by even more than that,” Biden said.
Good morning and welcome to the AS USA coverage for 30 November on the ongoing Congressional wrangling over the fate of President Biden's Build Back Better bill.
My name is Maite and I will also bring you all the latest updates on the American political situation, including changes to benefits, the continued rollout of the Child Tax Credit, and many more aspects of Biden's administration proposals that will affect you.