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Fourth stimulus check: COLA 2022 benefits, Medicare, Child Tax Credit… | Summary 25 December

Update:
President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden speak to families from the South Court Auditorium, on the White House grounds in Washington, DC, as NORAD  follows Santa's journey on Christmas Eve.

US stimulus checks: live updates

Headlines

- Some parents will receive $8,000 stimulus checks this spring. 

- Biden extends the student debt moratorium to May. 

- As Omicron causes business closures, will a fourth stimulus check be passed to combat the economic losses?

- West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says he can't support Build Back Better bill

-"There will be more negotiations," says White House Press Secretary Psaki

Useful information & links

Child Tax Credit

- What next for the Child Tax Credit after Build Back Better bill talks stall?

-Why does Manchin oppose the Build Back Better bill?

- Final monthly CTC payment of 2021 sent out on Wednesday 15 December

Stimulus checks

-New parents could see another stimulus check reflected in their tax refund in 2022

-What's the deadline to get your stimulus check plus-up payment in 2021?

Social Security

- How many Social Security payments are there to go in 2021?

- When does COLA 2022 take effect for Social Security benefits?

-5.9% COLA increase - how much difference will it make to Social Security benefits?

Latest articles:

$8,000 stimulus check: who gets it, how to apply and when will it be sent out?

CHILD TAX CREDIT

$8,000 stimulus check: who gets it, how to apply and when will it be sent out?

The Internal Revenue Services began the distribution of the sixth round of direct payments for the expanded Child Tax Credit in the middle of December, with concerned families around the United States realising that it was the final batch provided for by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Now, however, there is a potential for some of those parents to receive a payment worth up to $8,000 in 2022.

Read more

Americans turn to small business for holiday shopping

Around forty percent of small businesses have reported challenges associated with foreign supply chain disruptions. However, many others have seen increased revenue during the last few months of the pandemic. Leading up to the holidays, some busineses have seen a 18 percent increses over sales from this time last year. 

A historic number of Americans sign up for healthcare

The American Rescue Plan brought down the price of healthcare for many low-income Americans. This year a record breaking, 13.6 million, signed up for healthcare and will not have to pay a premium.

GOP gift of cancelling child tax credit

Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has tweeted on Christmas Day to remind his followers of the choice Republican lawmakers made on decisions regarding the likes of Medicare and child care.

Medicare: a Biden legacy?

Medicare has historically advanced the desegregation of American hospitals, but the Biden administration’s attempt to use the program’s physician-fee schedule to address racial disparities is likely to generate little more than paperwork.

In 1900, life expectancy for whites in the United States was 47.6 years; for African-Americans, it was just 33 years. Before World War II, hospitals for whites in the South typically didn’t admit blacks, and access to hospital care for blacks in rural areas was close to nonexistent. 

Chris Pope suggests that the Biden administration’s proposal to use a new Medicare metric to alleviate racial disparities won’t have much effect.

$1400 stimulus check for social security beneficiaries

The rise in COVID-19 infections in the United States as a result of the Omicron variant has led to renewed calls for a fourth stimulus check, with Senior Citizens League (TSCL) applying pressure on Congress to introduce a one-off $1,400 Social Security stimulus payment for seniors.

Read more

New Golden State Stimulus 2 checks coming

According to news reports, about 794,000 Golden State Stimulus 2 checks worth a collective $568 million are being mailed out to eligible state residents through Dec. 31.

Read more

2021 Urbi et Orbi Christmas message from the Pope

Pope Francis in his Christmas message on Saturday decried increasing polarisation in personal and international relationships, saying only dialogue can resolve conflicts ranging from family feuds to threats of war.

In his "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message, he called on individuals and world leaders to talk to each other rather than dig in their heels, a distancing he said has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together," he said from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on a wet and windy Christmas in Rome.

Read more

What does "Let's go Brandon" mean?

The phrase has burst into the political parlor in the last few months as it is used to criticize the Joe Biden presidency.

Now, the chant has become a rallying cry to insult the president, even featuring in the annual calls to families on Christmas Eve.

Read more

Three key numbers that explain America's labor shortage

Twenty-one months into the pandemic, America is no longer struggling with an astronomically high unemployment rate. Instead, it's big problem remains a shortage of workers.

Read more

Petition for stimulus checks tops 2.5 million signatures

A petition calling for $2,000 monthly stimulus payments has passed 2.5 million signatures.

The petition on Change.org, started last year by Colorado restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, now has 2,505,547 signatures. At 3 million signatures, it will become one of the top signed on change.org, the online petition site said.

The petition seeks monthly payments of $2,000 for adults and $1,000 for dependents “for the duration of the (COVID) epidemic.”

Read more

Last week to file for extra $1000 stimulus check available to Connecticut residents

$1000 stimulus check for Connecticut residents ends December 31

A 2021 timeline from Alpha to Omicron

US NEWS

A 2021 timeline from Alpha to Omicron

Covid-19 has dominated lives, the economy and the national discourse for a second year. This year began with a new variant that would later be named Alpha was the concern raising case numbers as the US struggled to get its vaccine rollout going.

As the year 2021 comes to a close, a new variant Omicron, which is even more transmissible than all the variant before, along with the Delta variant are once again causing infections to surge.

This time round the US is going into the winter with a majority of the population vaccinated but far from the levels that had been hoped for and Omicron appears to be more capable of evading the vaccine wall. Here’s a look back at covid-19 over the course of 2021.

Read more.

WATCH: Democrats discuss how to negotiate with Joe Manchin

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

Stimulus Checks

How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

Americans have received three stimulus checks from the US federal government during the covid-19 pandemic.

How much were they and who qualified?We take a look back over the trio of direct payments

Stimulus checks, benefits and other US economic stories in 2021

US NEWS

Stimulus checks, benefits and other US economic stories in 2021

After experiencing an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression, the US economy has been making record strides toward full recovery. At the end of 2020 that recovery seemed to be slowing down but two covid-relief packages supercharged the bounce back to health.

However, even though the economic recovery continues the virus remains with a new surge of infections as well as a new variant that is the most contagious yet. As the second year of the pandemic comes to a close, AS USA took a look back at the main news stories from 2021.

Read more.

Enhanced Child Tax Credit to have no more payments

Much to the dismay of more than thirty-five million American parents, it appears that the current month will mark the final installment of the enhanced child tax credit payments.

These extra funds that millions of parents have come to rely on each month will be a distant memory if the highly contentious Build Back Better legislation doesn’t get enough support. Biden, though, appears determined to return to the negotiating table with Sen. Joe Manchin, the holdout Democrat who effectively sunk his party’s $2 trillion domestic policy bill.   

Transformative enhanced Child Tax Credit should be made permanent

Under the American Rescue Plan, Democrats made major changes to the Child Tax Credit which has been around since 1997. Over the years it has been improved but through the legislation enacted in March it had a outsized effect in reducing childhood poverty.

The advance payment scheme has sent six advance instalments on the credit for up to $300 per child each month since July. The first payment was found by experts to have kept 3 million children out of poverty and reduce the childhood poverty rate by 25 percent.

Rob Schofield from NC Policy Watch says "Congress should heed Biden's request to fine tune the credit and make it permanent right away."

Fourth stimulus check: Will Congress pass another payment as Omicron sparks an increase in cases? 

US NEWS

Fourth stimulus check: Will Congress pass another payment as Omicron sparks an increase in cases? 

During President Biden’s address to the nation on Tuesday, he warned that in the coming days and weeks the country could experience a surge in covid cases. This increase could result in the collapse of some hospital systems and a tragic number of deaths.

Additionally, many business owners worry that while lockdowns may not be imposed, customers may avoid dining out or shopping to lower the risk of contracting the virus.

However, haphazard business closures, during what is typically one of the busiest seasons, could lead to another wave of layoffs that could stall the economic recovery. To keep the economy afloat, some are wondering if Congress will consider sending another round of stimulus checks. If unemployment increases, businesses close, and consumer spending falls, all the recovery made by investments made to sustain the economy could be at risk.

Read more.

Build Back Better, final piece of the puzzle

President Joe Biden came to office with bold plans to rebuild the US pandemic-stricken economy. Although a president gets a four-year term, in modern history most lose their majority in the House in the mid-term elections.

Due to the election cycle then, a new president must get their entire agenda passed in the first year in office, minus a miracle that the remaining two years of their first term that they have a Majority in the House. Even then, they would potentially have to deal with an adverse Senate.

The Build Back Better Act, the final part of Biden's plan with the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure bill already enacted, was given a potential death blow before Christmas. Inorder to pass it Democrats need all 50 vote that they can muster in the Senate, but one of those votes, Senator Joe Manchin, said he cannot.

Still there is optimism in the White House and among party members that they will salvage Biden's vision.

Unemployment claims unchanged staying historically low

Jobless claims remained at 205,000 for the week ending in 18 December. Unemployment is at historically low levels as the economy has recovered from the initial damage done by covid-19 pandemic. 

The four-week average rose by 1,000 to just over 206,000. The data suggest that the spread of the omicron variant hasn't immediately triggered a wave of layoffs.

$8,000 stimulus check: who gets it, how to apply and when will it be sent out?

CHILD TAX CREDIT

$8,000 stimulus check: who gets it, how to apply and when will it be sent out?

The Internal Revenue Services began the distribution of the sixth round of direct payments for the expanded Child Tax Credit in the middle of December, with concerned families around the United States realising that it was the final batch provided for by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Now, however, there is a potential for some of those parents to receive a payment worth up to $8,000 in 2022.

Read more.

How have people spent their Child Tax Credit?

There has been opposition to the enhanced child tax credit amid claims that parents would blow their money on drugs instead of providing for their children's needs.

Studies however are showing that those who have received child tax credit payments have actuallly spent them on critical essentials such as food, rent, and utilities.

Democrats face "worst case scenario" after Build Back Better collapse

Party infighting, rush votes, and failed negotiations have led Democrats to this point which Chris Cillizza says represents the worst-case scenario as the party enters an election year. Watch the video to see how Democrats got here and what they can do to increase their electoral chances this fall. 

Merry Christmas and welcome to AS USA’s daily live blog for Saturday 25 December 2021. We’ll be bringing you the latest news on President Biden's Build Back Better bill, which has been dealt a major blow by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s announcement that he will not be voting for the legislation.

We’ll also provide information on the enhanced monthly Child Tax Credit, which is due to expire at the end of the month. A major goal of the Build Back Better bill is to extend the scheme, which has seen qualifying households receive up to $300 per month per child.

You’ll also find updates on a potential fourth federal stimulus check in the United States, in addition to information on unemployment and Social Security benefits.

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