US stimulus checks | News summary for 24 January
What have politicians said about an environment-focused bill?
"I think it’s clear that we would be able to get support for the $500 billion plus for energy and the environment."
We don’t have another 10 years to wait. We should take what Joe Manchin said, take the climate and clean-energy provisions in the package that have been largely worked through and financed, and take any other provisions in any other part of Build Back Better that have the votes, and put them together as a package.
Can the Democrats get anything passed?
An article from The New Republic has explained what they believe is the best of the terrible hand Joe Biden has.
They argue that the only thing that could get passed from Build back Better is the environmental aspect. "A depressing case to be made for a climate package," they said, as the aspects which will help peoples lives in the here and now are unlikely to be passed with the obstinacy of Joe Manchin in the Senate.
Reports are circulating in Washington around the White House beginning to discuss a potential Executive Order on cryptocurrency. Some reports speculate that the order will be released in 2022, possibly by February, and many supporters worry about what regulatory measures, if any, it might include.
Public faith in Congress low
Only 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.
60 percent of replies to the survey disapproved of what Congress is doing, namely nil, as no bills of significance are being passed.
Despite making some sort of comeback on Monday, Bitcoin investors have had some of the worst weeks in their investment journey. From a high of $69,000 in November, the cryptocurrency crashed to $32,951 last week, its lowest value since last summer.
As covid-19 case numbers have reached new daily records in recent weeks there have been growing calls for further economic support for American people and businesses. This trend has heaped extra pressure on Americans as one form of federal financial support, the Child Tax Credit, has been removed.
While very few states have committed to a full round of stimulus checks, some have introduced extra pandemic-related support that state residents can access.
Those in need of rental assistance go unhelped
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that more than 76 percent of renters are unable to access federal rental assistance. The graphic below highlights some of the most common roadblocks or issues many encouter while trying to access aid.
The US is in the throws of another wave of covid-19 infections with case numbers surpassing all previous peaks. In the past this led to the federal government stepping up to help Americans left struggling in the disruption the pandemic has wrought on livelihoods and household finances.
However, this time despite workers out sick or quarantining no new federal stimulus checks look set to be sent out. Read more.
How did personal income change in Novemebr 2021?
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that in November, "personal income increased $90.4 billion (0.4 percent)." When looking at disposable income, the agency tracked an increase of $70.4 billion (0.4 percent).
Consumer spending also increased in November, with a increased by $104.7 billion or 0.6 percent, down almost a percent from the 1.4 percent figure captured in October.
When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan in March 2021, the structure and amount of the child tax credit was altered. The legislation mandated that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) distribute a monthly advance of the payment between July and December 2021. The value of the credit was increased from a non-refundable $2,000 credit, to a fully refundable credit worth $3,600 ($300 per month) for children under six, and $3,000 ($250 per month) for children between six and seventeen.
Republicans have shown some support for their this sort of credit, but have yet to reach an agreement with the White House. Read our full coverage for more on the debate, as well as information on how to claims the remaining value of the credit when you file your taxes.
Biden spoke to the economic uncertainty brought upon by the pandemic and the countries already fragile social safety net. As many federal aid programs have expired, the resurgence of cases and increased inflation are top concerns for many in the US. During a press conference, the President said that supporting the Build Back Better bill is one way he believes the economic recovery will be able to continue by stabilizing prices. However, during the same appearance he alluded to the fact that the bill may need to be broken up to have better legislative chances of becoming law. How this change, and thus set of bills, would imapct the ability of the legilsaiion to stabalize the economy is unclear.
Jen Pskai responds to question on Republican support for the child tax credit
And there are some senators who have been out there saying they support different components. I know Senator Romney has said he supports or is open to some component of the Child Tax Credit. He’s not the only one. Are there 10 Republicans they can get to support that?
Quit rates were up in almost half of states in November
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that in November, the rate of quits among workers increased in twenty-two states. Only two states, Pennsylvania (-17,000) and Colorado (-15,000), saw decreases.
The largest increases in the number of workers who voluntarily left their job were seen in Georgia (+53,000), Illinois (+42,000), and New York (+36,000). As a percent, New Hampshire (+1.6 percentage points) and Georgia, Kentucky, and North Dakota (+1.2 points each), saw the greatest boost compared to the levels recorded in October.
For the week ending 15 January the United States recorded an increase in initial unemployment claims of around 55,000, taking the total figure to 280,000. This is considerably lower than the level at the start of the pandemic, but is significant increase on the situation towards the end of 2021. With this in mind many may need to rely on unemployment benefits, but are the normal limits on payments still in place?
Tax season 2022 gets underway
The IRS has warned that, with more than six million unprocessed tax returns from previous years, Americans could face long delays for filing season 2022. The agency has suffered significant budget cuts in recent years and is now tasked with overseeing additional programmes like the stimulus checks and the expanded Child Tax Credit. Here's what to expect when you file your taxes this year...
Fed Reserve may introduce new inflation-fighting measures
During the pandemic the US government has introduced various forms of financial relief for residents to ensure that vulnerable people are protected in the midst of a major economic downturn. The federal government has passed stimulus checks, tax credit expansions and additional unemployment benefits to protect those who suffer a loss of income during the pandemic.
However there is concern that those measures may have overheated the US economy and triggered spiralling inflation rates across the country. In return, the Federal Reserve may look to increase interest rates to keep inflation in check.
Sen. Bennet reaffirms commitment to the Child Tax Credit expansion
"This is about children all over our country and the future of the United States of America. Childhood poverty, Madam President costs this country a trillion dollars a year. And one of the things we decided was maybe instead of paying for the effects of childhood poverty, we could actually begin to try to reduce the amount of childhood poverty that exists in our country the way other countries around the world have already done it.
"Nationally, the Child Tax Credit, as I say, is cutting childhood poverty in half. It's reducing hunger among families by a quarter. Let that linger for a second, Madam President. When's the last time we were able to come to the floor of the Senate and say we've cut hunger in this country by a quarter. It's been generations since anybody's been able to say that on this floor. In Colorado, Madam President, a million kids and their families are benefiting from this credit."
More than 169 million Americans received a payment from the third round of stimulus checks which was sent out nearly one year ago. The threat of the more contagious covid-19 variant, Omicron, has spooked the markets and created new wave of illness and led to calls for additional direct payments to be passed.
The non-partisan advocacy group Senior Citizens League (TSCL) has called on Congress to send those receiving Social Security additional stimulus money. In a letter, TSCL Chairman Rick Delaney implored leaders in Congress to approve a one-off $1,400 Social Security stimulus payment for seniors.
Pandemic stimulus measures linked to soaring inflation rates
It is no secret that the United States has been in a period of high interest rates for many months now, with the year-on-year price rise suggesting a 7% increase since January 2021. Many have linked the soaring inflation rate to the various covid-9 financial relief measures introduced over the past two years. The stimulus checks, Child Tax Credit boost and additional unemployment benefits were all supposed to help ensure that US economy did not collapse due to pandemic restrictions, but they may have overheated the markets and pushes prices sky-high.
Democrats highlight unemployment progress over the past year
Unemployment was one of the main issues that President Biden inherited when he took office in January 2021 and the progress that he makes with his economic agenda is perhaps the most crucial facet of his presidency. Millions of Americans lost their jobs in the early months of the pandmic and lockdown restrictions made it impossible for many businesses to keep their staf on the payroll.
However significant improvements have been made and Democrat Rep. Pete Augilar has reiterated the trend of falling unemployment claims in Biden's one year in office.
IRS begins accepting tax returns for 2021
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is encouraging filers to submit their tax returns using the online e-Filing platform this year, and has warned of significant delays for those who opt for paper filing. The IRS is faced with a huge backlog on previous years' filing and millions could experience delays for their tax refunds this year.
Tax season 2022 is upon us and the IRS will begin processing filings from 2021 today. This is always a huge undertaking for the tax agency but one which has been complicated even further by the various forms of financial relief offered during the pandemic. To help aid filers at this busy time, the IRS has sent out letters informaing them of how to include stimulus check payments in 2022 tax returns...
Family recounts tragic impact of Child Tax Credit expiration
The Child Tax Credit drew a lot of attention last summer when it was expanded, as part of President Biden's American Rescue Plan. For the first time ever the credit would be offered in the form of a monthly direct payment for tens of millions of eligible families. Across the six months of payments it is estimated that childhood poverty fell by around 40% amongst those who received the payments. However Congress was unable to agree to an extension and the monthly payments ended with the December instalment.
Lawmakers refuse to abandon Child Tax Credit ambitions
“I know that a couple of experts in the field have raised it and I’m certainly looking at it... I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with ideas and approaches on the Child Tax Credit that will get us to 50 votes, and I continue to do that.”
“One thing that I’d be very, very reluctant to do is to change the full refundability because that’s been so important for working families and poor families."
Progressive lawmaker reiterates commitment to recurring stimulus checks
The prospect of a recurring monthly stimulus check has been mooted throughout the pandemic, and was even publically supported by then-Sen. Kamala Harris in 2020, before she became Vice President. However the proposal has drifted in recent months and calls for a fourth stimulus check appeared to fade in the second half of 2021. However Rep. Rashida Tlaib maintains her belief that recurring stimulus checks would provide the vital financial support required.
Why might you receive a smaller tax refund this year?
On the first day of tax season 2022 millions of Americans will be thinking about their returns, and how much of a refund they can expect to receive this year. The Child Tax Credit has always provided a single end-of-year tax credit for families to reduce the size of their bill or boost their tax refund.
However the alteration of the credit last year to allow for half of the support to be paid out in advanced monthly payments means that some will get less than normal come filing time.
GOP and Dem lawmakers unite for Child Tax Credit action
"We believe Congress can and must come to a compromise to spare millions of families the tumult of falling into poverty in 2022 by restarting the monthly Child Tax Credit. The overwhelming wave of coronavirus omicron variant, the abrupt end of these payments, and ongoing inflation is a one-two-three punch families can’t take — and one Congress can stop."
The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows users to request a new Social Security card using a free online portal, but six states are yet to introduce the new system. The online system is available for those who are requesting a new card, rather than looking to change any details on their account, and a new card can be sent directly to your home address.
Rep. Clyburn expects more progress from Biden administration
In an interview with MSNBC House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn admitted to feeling concern about the worrying downward trend of President Biden's polling numbers. However Clyburn reiterated his belief that making significant progress on programmes like the Child Tax Credit will bring Biden's numbers back to a positive position.
What is the cost of the Child Tax Credit expiration?
Last month Congress was unable to find agreement on the proposed expansion of the Child Tax Credit for another 12 months, the programme which has ensured that the majority of American families received monthly direct payments. THere is now real concern that the removal of the support will hit the nation's most vulnerable children.
"The thing that's most frustrating about all of this is that pulling back on the Child Tax Credit actually harms the families that need it the most," says Jessica Fulton of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "In a time when what we're wanting is for parents to go back to work, they needed that income boost,"
When Gov. Gavin Newsom passed the California Comeback Plan last summer he approved another round of Golden State stimulus checks, providing a one-off payment worth up to $1,100 for eligible residents. The vast majority of Californians have now received their full stimulus check entitlement and the distribution process has been concluded, but some individuals may still be able to claim a payment...
How to reduce tax filing delays
Tax season 2022 begins today, marking the date on which the IRS will officially start processing tax returns filed for 2021. Many will want to be proactive and get their returns filed promptly to ensure they get their tax refund back soon, but the IRS is already facing a huge backlog of tax returns from previous years. Experts warn that the pandemic-era support programmes like the Child Tax Credit and the third round of stimulus checks could complicate matters.
Hello, good morning, and welcome to the AS USA dedicated fourth stimulus check live feed, giving you all the latest financial news from the United States. As well as the fate of the proposed direct payments, we will keep you up to date on the Child Tax Credit, hopes of additional unemployment support and the latest from tax season 2022.