Fourth stimulus check: COLA 2022 benefits, Medicare, Child Tax Credit… | Summary 26 December
US stimulus checks: live updates
- 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
-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?
- 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?
As December comes to an end, and another month passes without a fourth stimulus check, many wonder if January could be the month a direct payment is sent.
The IRS 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 US realising that it was the final batch provided for by the American Rescue Plan. Now, however, there is a potential for some of those parents to receive a payment worth up to $8,000 in 2022.
Tax relief extension
Victims in Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Conneticut will by eligible for a tax relief extension. The original date was set for January 3rd, but the extension will allow those eligble to file until February 15th.
IRS warns customers against online fraud
The Internal Revenues Service warns customers to be vigilant in giving out private details with fraudsters looking to claim the information is needed for advance Child Tax Credit payments
Investors set to look to Omicron for direction
The Omicron variant is causing infections to double in 1.5 to 3 days, according to the World Health Organization. The variant now accounts for 73% of all new U.S. cases, up from less than 1% at the beginning of the month.
Still, questions about Omicron's virulence have made investors less pessimistic than the original reaction. The S&P 500 closed down 2.3% on Nov. 26 after the variant was discovered, on fears of fresh economic lockdowns.
A South African study offered hope about the severity of Omicron and the trend of covid-19 infections published earlier this week. Shares of vaccine makers slumped in December as investors expect the Omicron variant's impact to be limited based on recent data.
'Spider-Man: No Way Home' becomes first pandemic-era movie to smash $1 billion milestone globally
"Spider-Man: No Way Home" unwrapped the best Christmas gift of all, becoming the first pandemic-era movie to cross $1 billion at the global box office.
Sony's comic-book epic has eclipsed that milestone in a near-record 12 days, tying with 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as the third-fastest film to reach the billion-dollar benchmark. Only 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War" and 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" were quicker, smashing the coveted tally in 11 and five days, respectively.
"The stakes are too high for this to be, in any way, about any specific individual"
"I think the stakes are too high for this to be, in any way, about any specific individual", Vice President Kamala Harris said in a CBS News interview aired on Sunday, when asked about Manchin. Harris said the White House was not giving up on the legislation.
Manchin's support is crucial in the Senate chamber where the Democrats have the slimmest margin of control and Republicans are united in their opposition to the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the chamber would vote on a package in early 2022.
The White House said on Wednesday that conversations with Manchin's office will continue. Biden said on Tuesday that he and Manchin were "going to get something done" on the legislation.
Jayapal asks Biden to continue focus on 'Build Back Better', urges executive action
U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, a leading liberal House Democrat, has asked President Joe Biden to continue focusing on his social spending legislation and urged him to use executive action despite Senator Joe Manchin's public rejection of the plan.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), wrote that the CPC will soon release a plan for some actions like lowering costs, protecting the health of families, and tackling climate action.
"The Progressive Caucus will continue to work toward legislation for Build Back Better, focused on keeping it as close to the agreed-upon framework as possible", she wrote in the newspaper Manchin, a conservative Democratic senator, rejected the president's "Build Back Better" plan last Sunday in a move that imperils the legislation.
IRS launch video tutorials
The Internal Revenue Service offers a new 'how-to' video service to help taxpayers apply for Offers in Compromise and avoid scams.
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.
In cities like Austin and Chicago businesses are already shutting their doors voluntarily as staff test positive and business hits a dead halt. Empty Bottles in Chicago will be closed until 30 December, with one of the owners, Bruce Finklestone saying: “Our first goal is to look out for the health and welfare not only of our staff but our friends and our customers, and it just seemed to make sense.”
Children will go hungry without expanded Child Tax Credit
Data released Wednesday by the US Census Bureau shows that more than 21 million people across the country live in households where there was "sometimes or often not enough to eat in the last seven days," a five-month high.
These are exactly the people who the expanded Child tax Credit is for. The fact this data is from the period of the expanded measures show just how critical it is it continues next year. However, there will be no vote on proposals until next year after Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin came out against voting, the only person in his party to do so.
The US was already in the grip of a new surge in covid-19 infections when the fast-spreading Omicron variant entered the picture. Citing the pandemic and student borrowers’ need for more time to begin repaying their loans, President Biden extended the student loan moratorium.
Earlier this month prominent Democratic lawmakers had “strongly urged” Biden to extend the loan forbearance which started at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. The news of the 90-day extension was greeted with enthusiasm as well as calls for debt forgiveness, something Biden had promised to do as a candidate.
'A lot of us are gonna be disappointed'
Democratic Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin on Sunday said the Democrats are prepared to move forward on the Build Back Better bill, but conceded that "a lot of us are gonna be disappointed."
"We are prepared to move. We just need to make sure we have unanimity in our caucus. And that's what we're working on and we will start on that next week when we return," Cardin said on "Fox News Sunday."
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
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.
Trump said it was tough to be “overly critical” of President Biden
Former President Trump said Tuesday it was tough to be “overly critical” of President Biden after the current president praised the Trump administration for its covid-19 vaccine rollout.
"Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America is one of the first countries to get the vaccine," Biden said from the White House, referring to the Trump administration's vaccine effort referred to as Operation Warp Speed.
"Thanks to my administration, the hard work of Americans, we let — our rollout made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms," Biden continued.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News the same evening, said he was both “surprised” and “appreciative” of the president's acknowledgment, adding it is difficult to criticize Biden after receiving recognition.
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.
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.
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.
West Virginia asks Joe Manchin to support Build Back Better
After Senator Joe Manchin walked away from the negotiations over the Build Back Better bill, some in his home state, West Virginia, are urging him to return. The Hill argues that Manchin's move to reject the bill, which would have extended the child tax credit was a mistake. "There are plenty of legislative agendas that demand political chess-play by members of Congress. This was not one of them. The child tax credit should have been extended and the refundability provision made permanent," wrote Lyndon Haviland.
Welcome to AS USA’s daily live blog for Sunday 26 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.