WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday said direct relief checks to millions of eligible Americans will likely be disbursed by "the end of the month," as the U.S. House prepares for a final vote this week on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.
Biden, speaking to reporters during a tour of a Veterans Administration facility, said he will sign the stimulus package bill "as soon as" it lands on his desk.
House Democratic leaders on Monday said a final vote on the package could come Tuesday or Wednesday after the package was approved in a party-line vote by the U.S. Senate on Saturday. The House initially approved Biden’s proposal last month, but will need to take a final vote to approve changes made to the package by the Senate, such as reducing the weekly unemployment aid to $300 a week instead of $400.
"We’d take it up Wednesday morning at the latest," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters during a Monday media briefing at the U.S. Capitol.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, asked about the timeline for distributing the checks, said "we expect a large number of Americans to receive relief by the end of the month."
The current relief package calls for $1,400 direct cash payments to individuals earning $75,000 or less and married couples who make up to $150,000. Individuals earning up to $80,000 and couples earning up to $160,000 will still be eligible for reduced payments.
Psaki, asked what the Biden administration was doing to address the delays in disbursement that marred the first rollout of stimulus checks last March, said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin was "focused like a laser on ensuring that there's a clear process and system for ensuring this assistance gets out as quickly as possible."
A recent report by the Internal Revenue Service found that nearly 8 million Americans who were eligible for a $1,200 payment under last year’s CARES Act, or $600 under a relief package passed last December, have not received their checks because the IRS did not have information on file for those individuals. The IRS distributed checks based on tax filings with checks being issued first to those with direct deposit information on file.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters Monday he expected the House will approve the package well before Sunday, when unemployment benefits will expire.
"We'll pass it. It'll get signed into law by the 14th, and we'll get people real relief," Aguilar said.