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White House: President Biden’s name will not appear on $1,400 stimulus payments

The checks are a key part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan the House is expected to vote on Wednesday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki arrives for the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on March 8, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post)
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The White House said Tuesday that President Biden’s name would not appear on the $1,400 stimulus payments set to be sent out to millions of American families as part of the administration’s relief package, a reversal from the precedent set under President Trump.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday that the payments approved under Biden would instead by signed by a career official at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, an office within the Department of Treasury. The House is expected to vote on the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan as soon as Wednesday, putting it on course to be signed into law by Biden next week.

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The decision marks a reversal from the Trump administration. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin included Trump’s signature on the memo line of the payments approved in March last year, as well as a gushing letter signed by Trump taking credit for the benefit.

Psaki said Tuesday that including Biden’s name on the checks would delay their disbursement, something Treasury officials under Trump adamantly denied.

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“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,” Psaki said at the briefing. “This is not about him.”

Psaki had previously declined to comment on whether Biden’s name would appear on the checks. Political strategists have said Trump benefited from putting his name on checks to millions of families, but Democrats fiercely condemned Trump when he did so, arguing the move amounted to politicizing the coronavirus relief package.

The majority of the stimulus payments are made via direct deposit to Americans’ bank accounts. But millions still went out in the mail. From March to June of last year, the Internal Revenue Service sent about 35 million stimulus payments via paper check. The IRS did not respond to requests for comment on precisely how many checks were sent with Trump’s name on them.

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“The checks were very popular, and Trump definitely got credit for them — both in terms of helping Americans’ well-being, and reinforcing his broader popularity on the economy,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who advised the Biden campaign.