President Joe Biden has signed an executive order designed to speed up the delivery of COVID-19 stimulus checks to qualifying Americans who have not yet received them.
“We remain in a once-in-a-century public health crisis that’s led to the most unequal job and economic crisis in modern history,” Biden said in remarks on his executive order. “And the crisis is only deepening. It’s not getting better; it’s deepening.”
Biden said in remarks announcing the executive order:
Right now, there are up to 8 million people that are eligible for direct payments from the CARES Act and the relief bill passed in December. They are entitled to those payments, but there’s not an easy way for those folks to assess — access them. So we’re making it a priority today to fix that problem and get them relief they’re entitled to.
That means some people missed out on $1,200 checks they’re owed from earlier in the year, and others missed out on the $600 approved later.
According to CNBC, the executive order means the government will conduct outreach efforts to find those people. “It’s a good sign that the administration is prioritizing this group of people who didn’t get their payments, and is generally very low income and needs the help the most,” said Samantha Jacoby, senior tax legal analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, to CNBC.
The outlet explained that millions of people failed to use a non-filer portal designed for those who didn’t submit tax returns. In particular, the government needs to do a better job of reaching people who don’t speak English and those who don’t have good Internet access, according to the CNBC. The IRS will also contact people who did not use their stimulus checks or debit cards, according to the outlet. Due to the Biden executive order, the government will aggressively try to find those people who missed payments.
Here’s what you need to know:
Biden Pledged That More Relief Could Be on Its Way
The president called the COVID-19 stimulus relief plan that passed in December “a down payment and said he had outlined “a two-step plan of rescue and recovery” to help Americans.
In his remarks, the president said: “We’re going to finish the job of getting a total of $2,000 in direct payments to folks. Six hundred dollars, which was already passed, is simply not enough if you still have to choose between paying your rent and putting food on the table.” That proposal, though, requires an act of Congress, including some Republican buy-in, which is not certain.
The stimulus checks affected by his executive order are those already approved but not yet received by some people.
Biden Shared an Anecdote About His Father in Describing How Americans Are Struggling
In his remarks, Biden brought up a story about his dad. He said:
Yesterday, we learned that 900,000 more Americans filed for unemployment — 900,000. They join millions of Americans who, through no fault of their own, have lost the dignity and respect that comes with a job and a paycheck. So many of them never thought they’d ever be out of work in the first place. And just like my dad did when he was — he used to lie awake at night when I was a kid, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep because he worried about whether or not he’s about to lose his healthcare, or whether we were going to be — or have the money to pay the mortgage because of the economic circumstance he was in.
“Today, I’m signing an executive order that directs the whole-of-government — a whole-of-government effort to help millions of Americans who are badly hurting,” Biden said in the January 22 remarks. “It requires all federal agencies to do what they can do to provide relief to families, small businesses, and communities. And in the days ahead, I expect agencies to act.”
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