Ever since President Donald Trump signed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill late last month, Americans have wondered when they’ll receive the $1,200 direct payments promised in the measure.
On Monday, Maine Senator Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats and a longtime critic of President Donald Trump, confirmed that the Treasury Department will send “a lot” of stimulus payments to Americans this week, saying those who received tax refunds electronically can expect direct deposits to be received the same way.
“Everybody that got their refunds electronically, are going to be on the list to get them electronically again, and that can happen, supposedly, this week,” King says. “Same with people on Social Security and disability.”
Between 50 million and 70 million Americans will receive their payments through direct deposit by Wednesday, the Treasury Department said on Monday. However, a longer wait remains for Americans who required receipt of the payments via a check in the mail, King warned.
“The checks are going to take a much longer time,” King says.
The $1,200 direct payments, part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package that Trump signed into law on March 27, will be given to most adults making less than an adjusted gross income of $75,000 per year. Payments will go out to individuals who make as much as $99,000 annually, but the checks will comprise less than the full amount.
The Trump administration initially said it would require some Americans who receive Social Security to file a tax return in order to receive a stimulus payment, eliciting backlash from critics who said the move would place an undue burden on elderly people. But, on April 1, the administration flipped the decision.
“Fortunately, they reversed that position,” King says.
King, who served two terms as the governor of Maine before he joined the U.S. Senate in 2013, echoed Democratic Senate colleagues who’ve urged Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to back additional coronavirus relief stimulus that go beyond the $250 million sought by the White House to bolster the Payment Protection Program for small businesses.
“One of the concerns here is such Mitch, since Mitch controls the floor is basically he can get through the piece he wants, and then who knows when the next train leaves the station,” King says. “So, you know, the expectation that somehow he was going to get a pass on a major increase in funding.”
Republican leaders said additional stimulus could be discussed at a later time. “My colleagues must not treat working Americans as political hostages,” McConnell said last Thursday.
On Monday, King reiterated his support for boosting the Paycheck Protection Program, but said there are other urgent topics to address.
“Let me just say everybody’s in favor of increasing the funding for the Paycheck Protection Program,” King adds. “But there are other things that need attention too, so that’s the issue right now.”