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Chairmen Lewis, Thompson Demand Answers about Delayed Rebate Checks

April 15, 2020
Press Release
President's Name Reportedly Being Added to Checks at Last Minute

WASHINGTON – Today, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (GA-05) and Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking for an immediate explanation regarding news reports that the President’s name was being added to the economic impact payments at the last minute and potentially delaying the delivery of this badly needed economic relief. The Chairmen demanded an immediate answer and a timeline by which these checks would be sent. A copy of the letter is below.


April 15, 2020

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

We write as Members of the Committee on Ways and Means regarding alarming reports that stimulus payments authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act may be delayed so that the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) can print the President’s name on paper checks mailed to Americans.

As you know, Congress passed the CARES Act to help Americans navigate the unprecedented crisis that they are now facing.  A record number of Americans are applying for unemployment benefits, and millions more are facing job insecurity and financial distress. 

Last night, it was reported that Treasury made the unprecedented decision ordering the President’s name be printed on stimulus checks.  As a result, Treasury staff reportedly is “racing” to implement this last-minute change, and senior officials at the Internal Revenue Service worry that it will lead to a delay in issuing the first batch of checks to Americans most in need.  This is unacceptable. 

The stimulus payments that Congress authorized are meant to provide urgently needed assistance to those who need it the most.  It has always been Congress’ priority that Americans – especially low-income taxpayers and families who do not have access to electronic payments -- receive these funds as promptly as possible.

In light of the struggles confronting families nationwide, the Administration must ensure that time is not wasted playing politics.  For families, this is time and effort that should be spent making sure they receive their payments as fast as possible.  Millions are waiting.  It is alarming to think the Administration is further wasting time on vanity modifications to the checks going to many of the nation’s most vulnerable – this is not the time for political games.

Given the extremely concerning reports, please provide answers to the following questions by no later than tomorrow, April 16:

  1. Will the President’s name appear on stimulus checks authorized under the CARES Act?
  1. If so, what is the rationale for this unprecedented decision?
  1. What steps are necessary to implement this change, and when were relevant Treasury and IRS personnel instructed to start implementing this change?  What additional costs are associated with this change?
  1. When will the first paper checks be sent? 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

The Honorable John Lewis
Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight

The Honorable Mike Thompson
Chairman, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

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