President Joe Biden’s signature will not appear on the stimulus checks expected to be sent to Americans once the Covid stimulus plan is passed, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
Physical stimulus checks sent to American households last year included a note on the bottom left with then-President Donald Trump’s name. Individuals receiving electronic stimulus payments also received a letter signed by the President.
Psaki said during Tuesday’s White House press briefing that Biden didn’t think the inclusion of his signature on the payments “was a priority or a necessary step. His focus was on getting them out as quickly as possible.”
Psaki also said the federal government plans to expand electronic payments, which are “substantially faster” than checks, adding that physical checks will be signed by a career official at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.
“We are doing everything in our power to expedite the payments and not delay them, which is why the President’s name will not appear on the memo line of this round of stimulus checks … This is not about him. This is about the American people getting relief, almost 160 million of them,” she added.
The decision to include Trump’s name on the checks last year was part of a last-minute order by the Treasury Department that drew criticism from Democrats who saw the move as an effort to tie the payments to Trump just as the presidential campaign was getting underway. Then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it had been his idea.
“I’m sure people will be very happy to get a big fat beautiful check and my name is on it,” Trump said at the time.
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The current Covid relief bill, titled the American Rescue Plan, is expected to get a final vote in the House on Wednesday and then head to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Psaki said Tuesday that the White House is “not taking anything for granted” as the legislative process plays out, but she said the administration is “pushing through the finish line.” She also relayed that federal agencies anticipate being able to start delivering payments later this month, after the plan is signed into law.
Psaki said the first group to receive payments will be those who used direct deposit information to file their taxes in 2019 or 2020, followed by filers who didn’t provide that information but for whom the IRS has payment information.
“For households who have already filed their income tax for 2020, the IRS will use that information to determine eligibility and size of payments. For households that haven’t filed for 2020, the IRS will review records from 2019 to determine eligibility and the size of payment. That includes the use of the non-filer portal for previous rounds of payment,” Psaki said.
“For tax returns with direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will be able to send money electronically, and for those households for which Treasury cannot determine a bank account, paper checks or debit cards will be sent,” she added.
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.