President Joe Biden's name will not be on the American Rescue Plan $1,400 payments to eligible Americans, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.
"Biden's name will not be on checks," Psaki told reporters during the White House daily press briefing. "This is not about him. This is about American people getting relief.
"He did not think that was a priority."
What is a priority, Psaki said, is getting the checks out as quickly as the Trump administration Treasury was able to get them out after last December's $600 stimulus payments.
Psaki noted electronic payments are the fastest way to deliver payments and she specified how eligibility will be decided, listing:
- 2020 tax returns filed.
- 2019 tax returns filed reviewed.
- Electronic payments, same as last time, for Americans whose bank information is attached to taxes or other programs.
- Checks and Debit cards for the rest of eligible people.
Biden awaits a House passage of the Senate-passed relief bill, and he plans a Thursday address to the nation, detailing the status of pandemic in the United States on the anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The timing of its passage is crucial — most notably because some pandemic unemployment benefits will be coming to an end Sunday.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is massive, both in size and scope. It includes direct payments to most Americans, aid to small businesses, financial help for schools, and much more to help the country recover from the financial ravages of the pandemic.
Millions of taxpayers could begin to see direct benefits almost immediately, some later this month and others taking several months to accomplish.
- The legislation provides a direct payment of $1,400 for a single taxpayer, or $2,800 for a married couple that files jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent. Individuals earning up to $75,000 would get the full amount, as would married couples with incomes up to $150,000.
- The size of the check would shrink for those making slightly more, with a hard cut-off at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for married couples.
- Expanded unemployment benefits from the federal government would be extended through Sept. 6 at $300 a week. That's on top of payments from state unemployment insurance program.
Biden estimates that 85% of Americans will be eligible for the payment. Some groups that were not eligible for prior payments — such as dependent college students and disabled adults — are now eligible.
Biden said the goal is to send out the payments starting this month.
"That means the mortgage can get paid," Biden said. "That means the child can stay in community college. That means maintaining the health insurance you have. It's going to make a big difference in so many of lives in this country."
A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 30% of Americans say their current household income remains lower than it was when the pandemic began.
The IRS and the Treasury Department began to issue the last round of payments by both direct deposit and check in only a matter of days after the outlays became law in late December.
These pandemic unemployment benefits are set to expire Sunday, so if there is a delay in the bill's passage there could be a gap in benefits. But the National Employment Law Project anticipates if things are finalized this week, states and existing beneficiaries likely will not see any interruption in payments.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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