Fourth stimulus check | News summary for 7 December
We take a look back at the three federal stimulus checks sent out so far in the US during the covid-19 pandemic.
New legilsation to raise debt ceiling
House Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation that would allow the Senate to raise the debt ceiling without having to overcome a filibuster.
The legislation would set up a one-time process to raise the debit limit to a specific number without requiring 60 votes to overcome procedural roadblocks. After that process is established with the help of Republicans, then Democrats are expected to pass the separate debt-ceiling increase without any GOP support.
Senate Republicans emerging from a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said the proposal will pass the Senate with at least 10 Republican votes, staving off the shutdown risks that have dogged the last three months.
Beginning early this year the IRS began distributing 'Plus up payments' to those who received a stimulus check with a lower amount than what they were eligible to receive.
This IRS was able to "automatically send a third payment to people who didn't file a return but receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits."
Additionally, many were sent to people who had not yet submitted a 2020 tax return were sent a corrected payment based on the updated information.
How have personal income and consumption changed recently?
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in October "Personal income increased $93.4 billion, or 0.5 percent at a monthly rate, while consumer spending increased$214.3 billion, or 1.3 percent." The agency ties the increase in personal income to increased wages workers saw that month. However, with prices in the market increasingly rapidly, these additional dollars did not mean that purchasing power increased at the same rate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke on the floor of the Senate today to talk about the progress made over an increase to the debt ceiling. Schemer thanked his colleagues for their cooperation and does not believe that the US will default on its debts later this month.
He also spoke to his hope to bring the Build Back Better Act to a vote before Christmas. However, with some members of his own party, there is no clear sign that this timeline will be met.
Food insecurity in households with children dropped by a third this year
What fueled this decrease in food insecurity? The payments for the Child Tax Credit. The US Census Bureau has tracked a decrease of more than thirty percent decrease since July. However, many experts worry that if the credit is not extended these rates could increase sharply and drive millions into poverty.
The American Rescue Plan allows people who became parents or guardians in 2021 to claim a $1,400 stimulus check when the file their taxes next year. Find out the requirements and how to register in our full coverage.
Still waiting for your Golden State stimulus check?
California Assembly member Phil Ting explains why some have yet to receive their Golden State stimulus check. While many who were set to receive their paymetn through direct deposit have, the cstate will be sending the reamining checks by mail in batches ordered by zip code.
Since January, the economy has added over 18.5 million jobs since April 2020, averaging around half a million a month. In November, the economy added 210,000 jobs with the following sectors adding the most were professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, construction, and manufacturing. Interestingly as the holidays approach the retail industry lost jobs last month.
What will happen if Congress does not extend the Child Tax Credit?
Since the Child Tax Credit was expanded back in July numerous studies have shown that the monthly direct payments are making a substantial difference to poverty and food insecurity rates in the United States. The programme has broad support across the country but its fate hangs in the balance without a single Republican in the Senate willing to vote for the bill.
In this thread Chuck Marr, Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, outlines the benefits of the programme and why he believes Congress must act to extend it.
Your final shot at Medicare enrollment 2021
If you're eligible to receive healthcare coverage from Medicare but are yet to do so you have until midnight tonight to register with the programme. There is already an array of coverage plans to suit different needs and budgets, and the options may improve more in the New Year. If the Build Back Better bill is passed by Congress you could soon get dental, hearing and vision coverage from Medicare plans.
Waiting for your December payments from the Child Tax Credit to land in your bank account pre-Christmas? Well good news, for a select few late-comers to the programme, the December payment could be considerably larger than normal. For those who were not initially enrolled in the Child Tax Credit programme but who registered later, the IRS will be including any outstanding payments from the early rounds in your December entitlement.
Manchin refuses to commit on Build Back Better vote
Sen. Joe Manchin a centrist from West Virginia, holds the key to the Senate for President Biden and is one of two remaining hold-outs on the Build Back Better bill. Manchin, along with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, is yet to signal his intentions for the vote on the ambitious legislative package, which Biden is eager to hold before Christmas.
Today is the last day of Medicare enrollment
Eligible citizens have until midnight tonight to take advantage of the 2021 Medicare enrollment period and sign up for healthcare coverage for the coming year. Now is a great time to get Medicare coverage and the programme could be boosted by various changes potentially included in the Build Back Better bill. President Biden wants to expand the programmes to include hearing, dental and vision coverage for the first time.
"Today’s news means that the unemployment rate has now fallen by more than two percentage points since I took office. That’s the fastest decline in a single year on record. And it’s about three times faster than any other President in their first year in office.
"The number of people claiming unemployment has fallen from 18 million when I took office, to 2 million this week. Another record drop.
"We’ve also learned today that in November, 235,000 jobs were created in the private sector. And when they went back and recalibrated, they found — the last two months — they found that job growth over the prior two months, September and October, actually created 82,000 more jobs than had previously been reported — which means that we’ve averaged nearly 400,000 new jobs a month over the last three months. A solid pace."
Earlier this year the White House made it clear that they would not be pushing for a fourth stimulus check, but that they would support Congress if they decided to pass another. But with debate over the President's agenda growing tense, many lawmakers who had been pushing for another direct payment dropped their support publically. What does this mean for the prospect of a fourth stimulus check and what other support programmes could be passed?
How would the Build Back Better bill help Medicare recipients?
The Build Back Better bill is designed to help alleviate some of the disparity in American society and ensure that everyone has access to basic neccessities. Among that is healthcare, which President Biden is hoping to boost with several provisions in the bill.
Brown hits back at Graham's Child Tax Credit criticism
Last week South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham lashed out at the child tax credit, claiming it was causing illegal immigration - the thinking being that word will get out to other countries that if people can get to the US they’ll get free money for their children.
Of course that isn’t what happens, as unauthorised immigrant children would not qualify for the child tax credit. (There’s a further argument about what actually drives people to immigrate, but in general it’s not for welfare benefits and the vast majority of immigrants work incredibly hard to make a new prosperous life for themselves in their new country - research shows that immigrants as a whole have a major positive benefit on the economy).
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown spoke to Insider about Graham’s comments and said: “It’s a new argument just so that they could give tax cuts to the rich and squeeze working families. I just have never heard such a stupid thing.”
Research shows that not only did the first month of payments in July keep 3 million children out of poverty and help feed 2 million kids, analysis shows that the payments also had “very small” impacts on employment, indicating the tax credit does not encourage parents to not go back to work.
Biden to crack down on extortionate drugs prices
The Build Back Better bill is designed to provide a generational overhaul of the social safety net and boost the protections offered to some vulnerable citizens. President Biden was eager to ensure that healthcare is more readily available and is eager to ensure that Medicare providers are able to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers to prevent being charged extortionate prices.
New Jersey legislature unites over Child Tax Credit expansion
Congress in Washington is struggling to find a compromise on President Biden's Build Back Better agenda and secure an extension to the new Child Tax Credit. The expanded programme, which has sent out tens of millions of direct payments every month since July, is set to finish after the December payment. However lawmakers in New Jersey have come together to secure an extension for the state, suggesting that there may be a bipartisan route forward.
Will Biden be able to secure a Child Tax Credit expansion?
One of the cornerstones of President Biden's Build Back Better plan is securing an extension of the new Child Tax Credit system, which has seen eligible parents receive up to $300 per child in monthly payments since July. If an extension cannot be agreed, the IRS will make the final round of these direct payments on 15 December.
To support families and better position the US economy to combat climate change, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better bill, formally known as the reconciliation bill, last month. The Senate will now take up the issue and vote on the bill, potentially before Christmas.
Households with children could look forward to another 12 months of advance Child Tax Credit payments next year along with other tax breaks and subsidies to help with childcare. Democrats are aiming to pass the bill before the end of the year when the advance payments will expire if the extension isn’t passed.
Sign up for Medicare before midnight tonight
You have less than two days left to take advantage of the Medicare 2021 enrollment period, giving you access to great-value insurance programmes. President Biden is hoping to secure an expansion for Medicare in the Build Back Better bill which could see dental, vision and hearing cover included in the programmes for the first time, so now is a good time to get signed up with a Medicare provider.
Biden on jobs report: America's back to work
Reflecting on the progress made during his first year in office, President Biden said: "America's back to work, and our jobs recovery is going very strong".
The growth in the jobs market slowed in November in comparison to the strong gains made in previous months, but the mark of 210,000 new jobs across the month was still enough for Biden to celebrate, along with the wage increases for people returning to the workplace.
CTC brings about 24% drop in food insecurity
Since July the Child Tax Credit have been sending monthly payments worth up to $300 per child to eligible families, as part of the credit's new advanced structure. This change has been linked to a 24% fall in food insecurity in the few months that it has been in place, but does mean that recipient families may have a smaller end of year Child Tax Credit to claim than normal.
In previous years the whole credit was made available at filing time, but the IRS will have distributed 50% of the total allowance to each recipient in the form of the monthly payments.
Medicare expansion is needed, says Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders is a long-time supporter of Medicare and public health initiatives and believes that the programme should be alteed to allow providers to negotiate drugs prices with manufacturers. He makes the point that, without extortionate prices for pharmaceuticals, the insurance could be offered to individuals for a lower cost.
Welcome to the AS USA fourth stimulus check live feed
Hello, good morning and welcome to AS USA's dedicated live feed for updates on the fourth stimulus check. We will be bringing you all the latest on President Biden's Build Back Better bill, as well as the Child Tax Credit expansion and the potential changes to Medicare...